FDLE Fort Myers Regional Operations Center Celebrates 10 Years

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Fort Myers Regional Operations Center Special Agent in Charge E.J. Picolo today announces the tenth-year anniversary in the Page Field building. On March 4, 1999, the regional operations center moved their crime laboratory services from an Evans Avenue location and their investigative unit on Treeline Drive to its current location today, 4700 Terminal Drive in Fort Myers. Special Agent in Charge Picolo will be available today for interviews on the center’s history.

The location, which once housed the Southwest Florida Regional Airport, provided an upgrade from 6,500 square feet to more than 23,300 square feet allowing the center to introduce new laboratory functions and investigative staff.

“Since moving into our regional facility 10 years ago, FDLE has continued to enhance its presence in Southwest Florida,” said E.J. Picolo, Special Agent in Charge of the Fort Myers Regional Operations Center. “I am proud of our members and of the contributions they make in providing high quality forensic and investigative services to law enforcement agencies and the public throughout the area.”

Since moving into the Page Building, the operations center has witnessed a number of additions. In 2002, 5,000 square feet of additional space was added to accommodate the public assistance fraud squad and the Domestic Security Task Force, formed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

In 2007, FDLE expanded the Fort Myers Crime Lab to include DNA analysis. The expansion of DNA analysis to the Fort Myers lab was part of a multi-faceted plan implemented by FDLE in response to a surge in evidence submissions which resulted in backlogs statewide, particularly in DNA. Since inception, the Fort Myers DNA lab has processed 1,200 DNA service requests.

The facility has allowed FDLE’s Fort Myers office to greatly enhance its investigative and laboratory services to the region. This is evident through some of the high profile cases the region has assisted local law enforcement on including the Coralrose Fullwood homicide case, the Stasney double homicide case, the Darla Lathrem homicide case at the Charlotte County Correctional Institution, the investigation into the shooting of Fort Myers Police Officer Andrew Widman, laboratory work on eight skeletal remains discovered in March 2008 in a wooded area in Fort Myers, and various fraud, drug related, economic crimes, child abduction and domestic security cases.

FDLE’s Fort Myers Regional Operations Center was established in 1996. It has grown from 58 members to 91 members and includes two field offices in Sarasota and Sebring. The operations center is active in the Southwest Florida Regional Domestic Security Task Force, Child Abduction Response Team, U.S. Marshal’s Task Force, Mortgage Fraud Task Force and Joint Terrorism Task Force.

For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith, Kristen Perezluha or Mike Morrison
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001