Fort Myers, Fla. -
Election day where people will vote for a mayor in both Fort Myers and Cape Coral will be a month from tomorrow. It will also be the day the fate of the Fort Myers Police Department will be decided. They both certainly seem to be ready for it and both certainly seem to be ready to disagree, especially about the issue of whether to keep the police department or not.
"I'm in a contest. Look at those who are competing. Judge them on their ability. Judge them on their track record," said Randy Henderson, the current mayor of Fort Myers.
"Seeing the things that are going on recently I feel that we've kind of gone off in the wrong direction and we need to try to find another way to do things in the city," countered Raimond Aulen.
These are the two guys Fort Myers residents will have to vote for a month from tomorrow. Henderson who has been the mayor since 2009 and who was on council for ten years before that and who wants to keep the police department as is.
Aulen is a downtown businessman who's been in politics for a long time but is running for office for the first time. He's running for mayor yet wants to dissolve the police department into the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
Naturally, they disagree on the biggest issue which is what to do with the police department.
"On the police referendum, citizen Randy is voting 'no' on the referendum," explained Henderson. "We have a great police department there's no reason to change that. We can always do better. We're focused on doing better. That's what I'm for."
Auland disagrees, "We've got a really high murder rate, way above the national average and probably one of the highest in Florida so we've got some serious crime issues here."
Craig Clausnizer was a police officer up north and has two kids on the Fort Myers force. He's heading up the effort to keep the police department as is.
"The biggest thing is people don't know what this is," Clausnitzer explained. "They think it's a consolidation-merger which I don't know how they get away with using that language. There is no merger consolidation. It's firing every member of the Ft. Myers Police Department and having the county come in and take over."
To that, Auland says this, "The Sheriff's Department has a much higher standard of hiring than the city does and I know they're going to have to cut some of them because they won't meet the requirements"
The election is ne month from tomorrow, Tuesday, November 5th. If you can't get there, you can vote early or by absentee. We'll have more on how to do that in the coming days.