On Friday, November 12, 2015 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.  

Lieutenant Jeff Bernice was selected as the Mission BBQ Officer of the Month for October 2015. Lieutenant Bernice was honored for his dedication and “service before self” approach to the Cops Joggers 5K Race. 

The 2015 Cops and Joggers 5K Race and Family Fun Night was another huge success that will be added to the history of the Fort Myers Police Department.  A total of 960 runners participated in this year’s race which is the highest number in the eight years that the race has been in existence.  The event raised a total of $20,720.06 in proceeds for the Fort Myers Police Department’s Fallen Officer Memorial Fund and the Brotherhood Ride. 

This great event was a result of the hard work and dedication of Lieutenant Jeff Bernice who organized the first Cops and Joggers 5K race in 2008 and every race since its inception. The proceeds from the race benefit the Fort Myers Police Department Fallen Officer Memorial Fund and the Brotherhood Ride each year. Lieutenant Bernice has turned the family fun night and the race into one of the most popular attended races in Lee County.  

In the last eight years, the Cops and Joggers event has brought a total of $105,535.83 in proceeds to the charities which the race supports.  Lieutenant Bernice spends countless month, days, and hours planning this event and his vision to make this one of the premiere events in Fort Myers is becoming a reality. 

The Police Department received numerous compliments on our professionalism and organization at the race from various runners, spectators, and race officials.  The department members set an example for others to follow and have demonstrated an outstanding service to our community and the department. It is through Lieutenant Bernice’s dedication to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice that this is all possible. 

Lieutenant Jay Rodriguez, Lieutenant Pete Tarman, Senior Staff Assistant Denise Egolf and Quartermaster Bryan Smith have been selected Officers and Civilians of the Month for October 2015. The officers and civilians were honored for their devotion and dedication the 2015 Cops and Joggers 5K Race and Family Fun Night.  

This great evening was a result of the hard work and dedication of the 2015 Race Committee. Each member played an important role that created the amazing success and experience during this notable occasion. Officers and civilians volunteered their time and attended numerous meetings to assist in the planning, organization, and set up stages for this year’s event. In addition to their normal duties and assignments, they also assisted with obtaining sponsorships, prepared runner’s bags, and generated funds which truly made this event possible.  

Each year, these four members continually go above and beyond what is expected of them.  In the last eight years, they have brought a total of $105,535.83 in proceeds to the charities which the race supports.  Time and time again, these four members handle a large abundance of the logistical and administrative support that goes into making these events possible.   

Detective Emily Destefanis was selected as the East Fort Myers Rotary Officer of the Month for October 2015. Detective Destefanis was honored for her meticulous work during a successful investigation which led to the arrest of two violent suspects.  

Detective Destefanis was assigned the April 12, 2015, murder of Henry Jenkins which occurred at 3079 Cleveland Avenue. During the six months following the murder, Detective Destefanis worked tirelessly and relentlessly to build an excellent murder and robbery case against the suspects.  

Over the course of her investigation, Detective Destefanis was able to recover the property stolen from the vehicle, identify key witnesses that provided essential testimony, and link the suspects to the scene of the crime with both forensic and video evidence. In addition, Detective Destefanis exercised exemplary detective skills in which she was able to link the primary suspect to the crime scene by the boots that he wore during the commission of the crime.  

Detective Destefanis maintained an open dialogue with members of the State Attorney’s Office, and kept them apprised of major developments in the case. She also cultivated a strong relationship with the victim’s family and not only received their trust, but also their patience during the extensive investigation.  Ultimately, on October 2, 2015, Detective Destefanis acquired warrants for both suspects and they were arrested without incident.  

Please join us in congratulating our award recipients!  

Lieutenant Victor Medico

Public Information Officer

Fort Myers Police Department

2210 Widman Way

Fort Myers, Florida 33901

(239) 321-7748