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Some good news

By Staff | Jul 10, 2020

As COVID cases continue to climb, as our local health officials warn that ICU beds are near capacity, it may be a good time to take a minute away from pandemic headlines and share some good news.

The city does that well in its quarterly newsletter, On The Move, and the summer edition contains some good news, indeed.

Among the publication’s stories are two related to public safety.

First, the Cape Coral Fire Department has hit a notable benchmark that directly benefits our community’s residents.

“For the first time in its 58-year history, the Cape Coral Fire Department is capable of providing Advanced Life Support (ALS) at all of its fire stations,” On The Move states.

Advanced life support capability puts CCFD first responders on par with the type of on-scene aid as that provided by ambulance personnel. CCFD paramedics can start an IV and provide potentially life-saving airway interventions.

“The purpose of the fire department is to save lives,” Fire Chief Ryan W. Lamb is quoted as saying. “And, now ALS service, the highest level of pre-hospital care, is available to all residents no matter where they live in the City. This was years in the making, and we, and the community who will benefit from this service, are grateful to City Council for having the foresight to provide funding for the resources needed to bring this goal to fruition.”

It was, in fact nearly six decades years in the making.

Kudos. And thank you.

Also on the public safety scene, Cape Coral Police Department numbers continue to report good news.

“The City of Cape Coral is rated the safest city in Florida for violent crime, with populations greater than 100,000 residents. The City of Cape Coral also had the highest reduction in violent and non-violent crimes than any other comparable city,” the city reports, adding “The City of Cape Coral experienced a more than 19 percent decrease in violent crime and a more than 21 percent decrease in non-violent crime.”

This does not mean the Cape is immune to serious, even violent, crimes. We are not.

But it does mean that despite our growth, the city has not seen the numbers that too often plague comparably-sized cities — and even some smaller ones.

On The Move also shared a second set of numbers, numbers previously posted by Police Chief David Newlan on social media and published in The Breeze.

Chief Newlan released the numbers, reported annually as part of the department’s accreditation requirements, in the wake of the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the social unrest that followed nationwide.

“In 2019, the Cape Coral Police Department had nearly 178,000 citizen/police encounters. Of those encounters, 3,302 resulted in an arrest or 1.85 percent. Of those, only 42 arrests out of 3,302 resulted in a use of force. That means only 1.27 percent of our arrests required the use of force or 0.023 percent of our total citizen/police encounters resulted in a use of force of any kind. Twenty-three hundredths of one percent! The statistics also prove that our use of force is not disproportionate to any race, gender, or class.

“The Cape Coral Police Department received 13 external inquiries (complaints) in 2019. Five of those 13 complaints were sustained.”

The most common complaint was for administrative policy violations, such as late paperwork or tardiness, or rudeness, he said, adding that both the number of complaints and use of force overall “has been on a downward trend over the last decade.”

“The Cape Coral Police Department received zero complaints of bias-based policing, excessive force, or violation of civil rights. We believe that these statistics are the result of a strenuous recruiting process, cutting-edge training, and paying attention to the small issues before they grow into more significant problems.”

Kudos. And thank you.

Your professionalism is appreciated.

-Breeze editorial