The cleanup begins in Fort Myers

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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The damage from Hurricane Irma could cost billions to clean up. A former Toledo police chief was on the front lines of the hurricane helping to protect citizens in Fort Myers.

"The number one priority as a police chief down here has been the safety of our citizens. We've been very good at protecting our citizens and we were able to demonstrate that through the hurricane efforts," said Fort Myers police chief Derrick Diggs.

This week police chief Derrick Diggs faced one of his biggest challenges in his career. He says making sure citizens knew the city's safety plan to survive Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma smashed through Fort Myers as a category two storm.

"We had over 180 officers assigned to hurricane duty that worked around the clock. The reason we did that is because we wanted to make sure we didn't have the looting and type of criminal activity that other cities had. I'm proud to report we did not have that type of problem in this community because of our response plan," said Chief Diggs.

An emergency operations center was set up. There were mandatory evacuations.

"At last count we had approximately 30,000 of our citizens in ten shelters that were open within the city of Fort Myers throughout the county. Some shelters were for specials needs," said Chief Diggs.

The clean up and recovery from Hurricane Irma could take months or even years.

"One of the things we implemented is a curfew from 8 to 7 in the morning. Right now we have no power. We have not street lights. Much of our intersections do not have traffic intersections. So I have to man these locations with an officer until we can get the power going," said Diggs.