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On the night of Wednesday, January 9th,
residents close by witnessed Purple Rain coming from the Cape Coral
police station. No, we weren’t invaded by little green men from outer
space. It was just Signal III paying tribute to the late and great
pop star, Prince, while practicing for their next big gig.
What is Signal III? It is the name of a
local band comprised solely of Cape Coral Police officers and a Lee
County Sheriff’s deputy. It is also known as law enforcement radio
code for a hit and run which is how this diverse group of law
enforcement officers describe their style of music.
Their debut as a band came just a few
short weeks ago. They performed at the South Cape New Year’s Eve Ball
Drop and community gathering. The band managed to catch the attention
of many attendees with their extraordinary talent and showmanship. We
just had to know more.
This group of six men and their manager has an impressive combined dedication of over 157 years of community service in law enforcement.
They are all very proud of what they do, and proud to put on the badge to protect their neighbors and the city they love. I was able to sit down with Captain Michael Torregrossa, the manager for the group, along with the band members. Walt Herman, SRO for one of the schools here in Cape Coral, is the singer for the group; Officer Chad Hartzell, from the motorcycle unit, is on guitar; Detective John Howes is on bass; Lieutenant Steve Barnes, also playing guitar; Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Eberhardt is also on guitar; and “Mississippi Merle” keeping the beat on drums.
Signal III says their musical style can best be described as eclectic rock and that “If Pop FM had a band, we would be it.” They primarily do covers of a variety of entertainers, spanning several generations of music.
When asked how they came to the decision to form the band, they said that many of them are already participating in other bands, so when a conversation about music and performances arose, everything just naturally fell into place.
Many of them have been playing since the
In fact, aside from jokingly throwing out the hope of hitting the Grammy’s, each of them truly wants to portray officers in a better light.
They want people to know that they aren’t just ticket writers and rule enforcers, but also ordinary guys who go to work every day, and like to live, laugh and have a good time, just like everyone else. Their message is that it shouldn’t be “us and them,” that we are all neighbors, friends and a part of the same community. Performing together as Signal III is all about community outreach.
While the band isn’t technically recruiting new members, it was hinted that there may be guest performers joining Signal III from time to time.
Of course, this is a rumor that they said they would “neither confirm nor deny,” when asked for details, which was stated with sly grins from most of the band members. One thing they did all agree on and readily share is that all proceeds made by Signal III are being donated to various local charities, many serving veterans
BOLO (be on the look out) for their performances and be sure to come
out and show your support.