LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Sheriff thanks all who keep the peace, sends zero tolerance message to those who do not

June 12, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

To the Editor, to the citizens of Lee County and my family members at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office:
I want to personally thank the residents of our great county who play a huge role helping keep the peace in our community.
It saddens me to see the social unrest taking place across our nation which places law enforcement into a unique and challenging position.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has a proud tradition of defending the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida, without fear or favor.
Every day, as professional law enforcement officers our deputies risk their lives to protect the safety and security of the residents of Lee County and their property.
Every day, our deputies risk their lives assuring the rights of the people, including the First Amendment right to protest, are protected, regardless of our personal beliefs or opinions.
During these recent difficult times, we have seen both lawful protest – and violent, criminal behavior – often both taking place at the same event.
Some of the otherwise peaceful protests have been used as cover by violent criminals to attack innocent people and law enforcement officers, and to loot and destroy property.
Many law enforcement officers and innocent people have been killed, and hundreds of law enforcement officers and innocent civilians have been injured by this criminal element.
Additionally, these violent criminals have stolen, looted and destroyed millions of dollars in private property, often destroying the very communities which can least survive the damage.
The First Amendment assures the people have the right to PEACEFULLY ASSEMBLE to celebrate their joy, or protest their grievances.
The First Amendment DOES NOT give anyone the right to disobey lawful orders, violently attack others, steal, loot, or destroy property.
Those criminals who use protests as cover to disobey lawful orders, violently attack others, steal, loot, or destroy property will be arrested and jailed.
The criminal element will not be allowed to interfere with others’ right to peacefully protest.
Our deputies, have never, and will never abandon our role as protectors of the Constitution.
Our deputies, have never, and will never abandon our duty to protect the residents of Lee County and their property.
I have ZERO TOLERANCE for any person(s) who commits an act of violence or attempts to cause harm to my deputies, while conducting their lawful performance of duty. They WILL be overcome, using the force reasonably necessary.
We are in difficult times, most of the media makes its billions in profits by ignoring law enforcement’s great and heroic actions, and instead they sensationalize the few bad apples.
Despite the best efforts of some of the media to portray law enforcement in the worst possible light, the vast majority of Americans, and especially Lee County residents, continue to hold law enforcement and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in particular in great esteem, and strongly support our efforts.
The unflinching professional manner in which we respond to these events will once again prove the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, our deputies and our members – are among the finest in the nation.
Stay proud, stay safe.
Thank you for all you do every day. It is an honor to serve as your Sheriff. 
Sheriff Carmine Marceno
Fort Myers