Five members of the Cape Coral Police Department received the Department’s Leadership Award for their exemplary work leading the Community Services Bureau through a difficult time.
During the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years, Captain (now Deputy Chief) Michael Catania, Lieutenant Jon Kulko, Sergeant (now Lieutenant) Jennifer Matlock, Sergeant Brian Kearney and Sergeant Julie Green led the School Resource Officers during the COVID-19 pandemic. They ensured that the SROs maintained proper CDC health regulations and guidelines while performing their duties in an exemplary manner. During this difficult time, the sergeants were able to keep their SROs continually motivated and extremely productive.
When schools were closed due to the pandemic and conducting virtual learning, the Bureau focused on assistance for the school district and the community. They remained at the schools and assisted with safety and security while the schoolchildren were able to come to the school to get much-needed food. During this time, over 1.5 million meals were distributed to children throughout Lee County and Cape Coral.
The SROs also conducted safety and security operations at the COVID-19 testing site where thousands of Lee County citizens came to get tested. On Fridays, the Bureau assisted with security at the Harry Chapin Food Bank distribution location, which served food packages to 7,000 citizens in need.
When the schools reopened, through the direction of the Bureau Commander (Catania) and execution of the plan by the sergeants, the SROs returned to the schools and kept the schools safe and secure. The command climate provided by the Bureau leadership ensured the SROs felt their leaders were there for them, as they too had concerns regarding the pandemic and keeping 30,000+ Cape Coral students safe.
During the school year, the SROs conducted 2,559 counseling sessions with students, led 290 presentations, and thoroughly investigated 80 school threats.
Please join us in congratulating these officers for their excellent leadership and hard work during extremely trying times.