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Lee County Sheriff’s Office opens outreach center

Fort Myers Beach office on Estero Boulevard described as way to engage community

By Nathan Mayberg - Editor | Sep 9, 2020

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno introduced the department’s new community outreach center on Fort Myers Beach at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday morning.

Marceno described the outreach center as a way to “engage the community.”

Marceno said the outreach center will build “relationships. It builds rapport.”

The office, on Estero Boulevard and across from Crescent Beach Family Park, was the culmination of efforts between the Sheriff’s Office, local businesses and TPI, which owns the building.

“This is an iconic symbol that shows me that this community has spoken, they’ve come together and they created what we see here today which is engaging our public at the highest level,” Marceno said.

Town of Fort Myers Beach Councilmember Dan Allers said he worked with the Sheriff’s Office in finding a place for the center, which ended up being a former real estate office on property slated to be developed for Margaritaville. The building was not part of a town council-sanctioned enterprise and is not a substation. The Sheriff’s Office has a substation a few miles away on Pine Ridge Road.

Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce Jacki Liszak said the location across Crescent Beach Family Park is a “beautiful spot” for the outreach center. She worked with local businesses to help contribute to the effort to renovate the building to turn it into a community outreach center for the Sheriff’s Office. “I couldn’t have been more thrilled,” Liszak said.

“It’s good to have the Sheriff down on the Beach,” Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy said.

“We don’t have a crime problem here on the Beach,” Murphy said. “It’s nice to have their presence down here as a deterrent.”

According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, crime has been going down on Fort Myers Beach over the past year but following a July shooting, the idea of a community outreach center came together.

Statistics provided by the Sheriff’s Office at a town council meeting last week showed the serious aggravated crimes dropped by approximately 25% between 2018 and 2019.

Town of Fort Myers Beach Councilmember Bill Veach said the new center was a “good step forward for the safety of the residents of the island.” He said he would like to see a community watch program.

Councilmember Jim Atterholt said the new center is “one of a number of steps we can take to enhance public safety on our island.”