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  • Guest Writer

Collaborative efforts between law enforcement and the community

Bridging the gap between the community and law enforcement as well as maintaining positive relationships is not only fundamental for establishing trust but has been at the forefront for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

“Every day, we’re seeing an influx of residents moving to Southwest Florida—especially here to Lee County. In part, they come to live in paradise, but they also move here because we have law and order,” stated Sheriff Carmine Marceno.

While the top priority of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office is to safeguard the county and its residents, Sheriff Carmine Marceno is also committed to providing concierge service to residents at the highest level including community engagement.

There are many recourses and programs implemented to achieve this in addition to an entire unit dedicated to strengthening these relationships. The Community Response Unit, also known as CRU, focuses on establishing and maintaining direct community contacts to foster grassroots partnerships to address and resolve quality-of-life issues.

Some responsibilities and programs that the Community Response Unit is tasked with include instructional crime prevention courses, participation at community and/or homeowner association events, deployment of the Ice Cream Response Team truck, overseeing the Sheriff’s Youth Boxing Program, leading the Citizen’s Academy class, and providing education on Sheriff Marceno’s various initiatives among other duties.

Sheriff Carmine Marceno

“When you engage the community like this, the positive effects are tenfold,” said Sheriff Marceno. “Increased trust in the community leads to lower crime rates overall. People are more willing to work with law enforcement when they see law enforcement working for them.”

According to statistics released by the State Attorney’s 20th Judicial Circuit, in 2021, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office contributed to the 35% overall decrease in crime in the area. This exponential decline has continued under Sheriff Carmine Marceno’s leadership.

Aside from CRU, residents and visitors to the area have the opportunity to visit sheriff’s office community outreach centers located throughout Lee County. These centers are conveniently located in high pedestrian areas and shopping plazas such as the Gulf Coast Town Center, Coconut Point, and Downtown Fort Myers. The centers also provide residents with information and access to various resources and community programs.

“As sheriff, I didn’t want residents to just engage with law enforcement when they’re in need or having a bad day. I wanted there to be places where the community could feel safe to visit, and where they could meet the brave men and women who serve them on a daily basis.”


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