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The latest happenings in your city government.


Eight Year Old Child Hit by Car

 

LAKELAND, FL (October 2, 2014)

 

On October 2, 7:25 a.m., The Lakeland Police Department responded to a pedestrian hit by a vehicle at 3537 Cleveland Heights Blvd. Brianna Rivera, 8 years old, was crossing the roadway walking west and stepped in front of the vehicle at which time she was hit. The vehicle, 2012 Honda Accord, 4dr, driven by Iam Peter Bhisitkul, 85 years old, was southbound  in the inside lane. Bhisitkul stated he never saw Rivera and only heard something strike his vehicle. He then came to a control stop in the median area and got out and observed that Rivera had been hit.

 

Rivera was transported to Arnold Palmer Hospital as a trauma alert due to a head injury. The last report on Riveras condition is that she is doing well and may be released from hospital care this evening. Bhisitkul was not issued a citation.

 


LONGABERGER GRIEVANCE DENIED

 

LAKELAND, FL (August 29, 2014) - The City of Lakeland just received the Arbitration Award from Barry J. Baroni regarding the termination of former Lakeland Police Department Sergeant Russell (Rusty) Longaberger.  The hearing was conducted on April 16, 2014 under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.  The arbitrator denied the grievance outlined by Longaberger.  The report concluded that “It is the Arbitrator’s considered opinion that termination was the appropriate form of discipline and that there was just cause for the termination of Longaberger.”

 

Lakeland Interim Police Chief Larry Giddens said, “We support the decision made by the arbitrator in this case. The arbitration process was fair and objective and we support the conclusion drawn by the arbitrator.” Arbitrator Baroni concluded that in addition to the loss of community trust that there was consideration regarding the State Attorney’s “Death Letter” which removes a considerable amount of the grievant to continue functioning as a Police Officer within the Department.

 

City Manager Doug Thomas said, “The arbitration was a very involved process that started in April.  We are pleased that the arbitrator upheld the City’s disciplinary action and denied the grievance.  We are glad to close the disciplinary chapter in this matter and the City of Lakeland can continue to concentrate on moving forward.”

View Arbitration Award From Barry J. Baroni




The Lakeland Police Department recently arrested Carl Stewart Jr., a known burglary suspect, and he has been directly linked to six residential burglaries.  On August 3rd, Stewart was arrested and he has been charged with burglary and grand theft. He has been charged with the following residential burglaries: 

         LPD Event #14-15691 – 2421 Cambridge Avenue (7/31/14)

         LPD Event #14-15814 – 620 Chatham Drive (8/1/14)

         LPD Event #14-15932 – 715 W Magnolia Street (8/3/14)

         LPD Event #14-15924 – 2608 Jonila Avenue (8/6/14)

         LPD Event #13-25175 – 2205 Fairmont Avenue (12/29/13)

         LPD Event #14-62 – 600 Easton Drive (1/2/14)

Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens said, “Stewart has an extensive criminal history and is well known by  departmental  members. By combining this knowledge and excellent teamwork exhibited by patrol, K-9, and our detectives Stewart was arrested and taken off our streets".  LPD asks that citizens keep their doors and windows locked in their homes and advise residents to not leave their garage door up when not in use.  Giddens said, “We ask citizens to be vigilant and if something doesn’t look right, then please call us so we can check it out.” 

There have been a number of car break-ins lately and the Lakeland Police Department would like to remind citizens to “Lock It, or Lose It”.  When cars are left unlocked, it provides an easy opportunity for a thief to burglarize property. The vast majority of vehicle burglaries reported to the Lakeland Police Department could be avoided if citizens would take an extra minute to make sure valuables are removed from vehicles, hidden from view or locked in the trunk. 

If you want more information on crimes that may be occurring in your neighborhood, you can go to the Lakeland Police Department website at www.lakelandgov.net/lpd and click on the RAIDSONLINE Crime Mapping tool.  Through this service, you can find information on crimes that are occurring in your neighborhood, or anywhere else in the city.   

 


Public Nuisance Triplex Closed for 1 year



LAKELAND, FL  (August 18, 2014)  On August 20, 2014 at 10:00am, the Lakeland Police Department will be boarding up property located at 919 North Iowa Avenue, an apartment building consisting of three (3) apartment units (“triplex”). We will also be posting signage stating the triplex was closed as a public nuisance. This is the third location LPD has closed within 9 months and is the first triplex closed as a nuisance. The Lakeland Police Department continues to work towards improving personal safety for residents and landlords by keeping drugs and other illegal activity off their property. Several members of the Lakeland Police Department will be present to discuss the abatement process and answer questions.

 

The Lakeland Police Department had received numerous citizen complaints about drug activity at this location. Detectives using confidential sources purchased felony amounts of marijuana from apartment #2. On May 22nd, a search warrant was executed at apartment #2 and the following items were seized: approx. 17 grams of “crack” cocaine in 9 separate baggies, 58 grams of cannabis in 26 baggies, a mask, scales, loaded .380 caliber handgun, magazine and 9mm rounds and drug paraphernalia. Detectives were also able to determine that two individuals that left apartment #2 just prior to the search warrant were staying with the resident in apartment #1.

 

Detectives observed cannabis cigarettes on the window sill of apartment #3 and as a result obtained a search warrant that same day on May 22nd. The following items were seized: approx. 27 grams of “crack” cocaine in 2 separate baggies; 3 cannabis cigarettes, approx. 22 grams  of cannabis in a baggie; a 40 caliber handgun; and a 38 caliber round along with a box of .357 caliber rounds.

 

On May 23, a confidential source informed LPD that deliveries of controlled substances resumed at apartment #3 and this same day a confidential source purchased “crack cocaine and cannabis from an occupant inside of apartment #3.

 

On June 11, 2014, a second search warrant was obtained for apartment #3 and the following items seized: approx. 12.31 grams of “crack” cocaine, 52 grams of cannabis, and 4 pipes used to inhale cocaine.

 

In July, detectives recovered two additional firearms from a vehicle that had just left the parking lot of 919 North Iowa Avenue. Two individuals that were identified in the parking lot were staying with a resident in apartment #1. Detectives testified that the illegal controlled substance activities occurring on the property have involved all 3 units of the property including that the tenant residing in apartment unit #1 had direct knowledge of the illegal controlled substance activity occurring in units #2 and #3 of the property.

 

Lakeland Police Department General Counsel Roger Mallory presented an overview of the case to the to the Nuisance Abetment Board stating that it constitutes a “public nuisance”.

 

The Nuisance Abatement Boards findings were:

 

1. The entire Property, apartment #1, #2 and #3 has a reputation as a location where controlled substances are illegally possessed and can be illegally purchased.

2. The Boards finds that qualifying illegal controlled substances activity is inextricable intertwined with the entire property.

3. The Boards finds that a period of closure of the property for 1 year is necessary to discourage continued unlawful controlled substance activity on the Property and to abate the public nuisance.

 

 

Closure will take place:

August 20th, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

Location:  919 N. Iowa Avenue.

The doors and windows will be boarded up at that time as well

as a sign being posted in the front yard stating that property is closed as a drug nuisance.