Exclusive: Sheriff Scott says 911 calls in the city go unanswered
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A call controversy is brewing between Fort Myers and Lee County. The sheriff claims his office is handling too many of the city's emergency calls.
Both the Lee County Sheriff's Office and the Fort Myers Police each have their own dispatch centers. But when the city gets more calls than it can handle, they roll over to the sheriff's office.
Sheriff Mike Scott says more than 40 calls a day are rolling over to his agency.
"[I'm] just emphasizing the fact that these are 911 calls in the city that are not being answered," said Sheriff Scott.
In a memo obtained by Fox 4, the sheriff outlined his concerns to county and city leaders. He says, so far this year, 9,906 calls from within the city have been answered by sheriff's office operators, averaging 41.8 calls a day. Of those, he points out, 7.5 require a deputy response.
"I want them to understand that we're also carrying some other water, as well," added Sheriff Scott.
Fox 4 caught up with Police Chief Doug Baker at city hall. He says the numbers the sheriff gave seem high and he plans to review them.
Meanwhile, Fox 4 asked the mayor and a councilman about it.
"I've been on council 15 years but I've never seen that many calls actually listed and tagged and presented to us," said councilman Michael Flanders.
"Would you consider 41 calls a day a lot?" Fox 4 reporter Gabrielle Sarann asked Mayor Randy Henderson. "I don't know what to measure that against," he said.
As for the sheriff's claims, he say it's affecting his office.
"It's significant," said Sheriff Scott. "We're talking about 40 plus calls a day."
Sarann asked Henderson, "[Doesn't] that take away manpower from LCSO, if they're answering the phones?" Henderson replied, "That's what they're there for. And our taxpayers in the city of Fort Myers pay for that service."
The question now: is there a limit to that service? The sheriff points out that his office doesn't have an option if they get too many calls.
"We don't have anybody to roll over to," said the sheriff.
The city manager says he's asked the police chief to check his call numbers against the sheriff's. He says he expects those figures promptly.