On Friday, May 9, 2014 the Fort Myers Police Department honored several employees at a monthly award ceremony. FMPD strives every day to not only protect and serve the residents of the City of Fort Myers, but to make it a better place to live. “It is our policy to recognize employees of exemplary performance of their duties” said Chief Doug Baker. “We appreciate their heroics and the hard work that these men and women put in each day.”
Officer Yanny Morales, Officer Giordani Almonte and Officer Jesus Ramos are the Officers of the Month for April 2014. Officers Morales, Almonte and Ramos are being honored for their diligence and perseverance in apprehending a sexual assault suspect.
The police department received a report regarding a twelve year old female who was sexually assaulted by a known suspect at her residence on multiple occasions. Detective O’Brien was the lead investigator on the case and requested the assistance of Officer Morales and Officer Almonte.
During the course of the investigation, the officers were able to gather information through various sources within the community. During the initial phase, the suspect was able to elude officers on two separate occasions. However, this did not hinder the persistent efforts of Officers Morales and Almonte. The officers continued to develop leads as to the whereabouts of the suspect while also remaining in contact with the victim’s parents.
On April 4, 2014 Officer Morales and Officer Almonte received information of the possible location of the suspect. The information received advised that suspect was in Pine Manor. Officers Morales and Almonte immediately began coordinating with other agencies to assist with the apprehension.
Once on scene, the officers were able to establish contact with occupants of the residence that the suspect was inside, but refused to come out. Officers took a tactical position around the residence and began to call out to the suspect to exit the residence. The suspect refused to comply with the demands of the initial officers. Due to the unknown safety considerations within the residence, Sergeant Michael Forbes requested the assistance of Officer Ramos to assist with speaking with the suspect due to a language barrier.
Officer Ramos immediately made contact with the suspect from the front door of the residence. After a brief standoff, Officer Ramos was able to convince the suspect to exit the residence. The suspect complied with the demands from Officer Ramos and exited the residence. The suspect was immediately detained and transported to the Lee County Jail without further incident.
Officer Ralph Louissaint and Officer Curtis Cates are the Rib City Officers of the Month for April 2014. Officers Louissaint and Cates are being honored for their quick response and lifesaving actions on a shooting investigation.
On April 5, 2014 at approximately 8:48 p.m. the Fort Myers Police Department received a call in reference to an individual who had been shot near the intersection of Ford Street and Thomas Street.
Officer Louissaint and Officer Cates responded to the call and were the first officers to arrive on scene. Upon arrival, the officers observed a male pulling the victim from the canal that runs parallel to Ford Street on the east side of the roadway. The officers quickly assessed the victim who had been shot and was also not breathing. The officers immediately began lifesaving measures by conducting chest compressions and rescue breathing.
Officers performed CPR on the victim for approximately seven minutes prior to the arrival of the Lee County Emergency Medical Services, and through their efforts were successful in reviving the victim. The Lee County Emergency Medical Services took over emergency care for the victim upon their arrival, and he was later transported to Lee Memorial Hospital in stable condition.
Had it not been for these officers quickly reverting to their training and applying the lifesaving techniques they acquired through First Responders Lifesaving Training, the outcome for the victim would most likely be very different.
Officer Louissaint and Officer Cates are commended for their immediate actions to an emergency situation that clearly played an important role in saving this individuals life. It is a privilege to have such fine officers who are dedicated to their profession and to the citizens of Fort Myers.
Sergeant Dion Freeman is the East Fort Myers Rotary Officer of the Month for April 2014. Sergeant Freeman was selected for going above and beyond to foster youth in our community.
Recently, a kindergarten class of nineteen small and energetic children from Fort Myers Christian School had a field trip at the Fort Myers Police Department. Sergeant Freeman spent several days preparing for these young students. Sergeant Freeman laminated police badges with their photographs on them, prepared an extensive itinerary, and recruited members of the agency to demonstrate their various skill sets.
The children were given a detailed tour around the department observing the various bureaus and meeting the personnel who work at the agency. They had the opportunity to be fingerprinted, sit in a police vehicle, and learn the daily activities of a law enforcement officer. The children also watched demonstrations from the K-9, SWAT, CINT, Marine, and Bike Units. This tour was a huge success, and Sergeant Freeman implemented and organized the entire event flawlessly.
Mrs. Webber (teacher at the Fort Myers Christian School) stated, “I have been teaching for 25 years and by far, hands down, this was the best field trip to a police station I have ever been on. It was very informative even down to a kindergarten level.”
This field trip organized by Sergeant Freeman set a positive foundation for these young impressionable children which will ultimately touch and mold their lives. Sergeant Freeman is very family oriented, and knows how to develop children in a positive manner. Tours, demonstrations, and lectures are performed several times a week at the police department, but Sergeant Freeman went above and beyond the typical call of duty.
Crime Scene Technician Valerie Ziajka is the Civilian of the Month for April 2014. CST Ziajka is being honored for her teamwork and technical expertise in producing the Fort Myers Police Department’s 2013 Annual Report.
Every year, the Public Information Officer is responsible for producing the police department’s annual report. The annual report is an all-inclusive publication that represents the agency, employees, and numerous activities the police department participates in throughout the year. Longtime PIO Shelly Flynn retired in December 2013, and Lieutenant Victor Medico took over her position as the new PIO with a very short window to produce a meaningful report.
Having little or no technical experience to take on this endeavor, Lieutenant Medico began to seek outside assistance. Valerie Ziajka was a name given to him as someone who had the knowledge to make the report happen. Sometime in February 2014, Lieutenant Medico asked Valerie if she would co-author the annual report. With very little coaxing, Valerie agreed and over the next two months Valerie completed the lion’s share of the work. Whether it was designing the layout, taking pictures, or editing the content Valerie accepted the challenge and delivered. In most cases, she went above and beyond to make the report special.
In early April, the final product was reviewed and approved with high praise by Chief Douglas Baker. Valerie is commended for being a team player and rising to the occasion to help a co-worker in need. Valerie displays all the characteristics we value here at the Fort Myers Police Department and is a true asset to our agency.
Please join me in congratulating all our award winners!