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Lakeland Police Officers Ride 250 Miles in Honor of Fallen Comrades

 

 

Two officers with the Lakeland Police Department are gearing up to participate in the 2014 Police Unity Tour. On May 9th, Lieutenant Mike Moran, a 23-year veteran and Sergeant Mike Lewis, a 14-year veteran, will once again set out on a bike ride that will span three days and 250 miles from Portsmouth, VA to Washington, DC. The annual event’s primary purpose is to raise awareness of Law Enforcement Officers who have died in the line of duty. The tour also raises funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum in Washington, D.C.  This year’s ride will be the 3rd for Lt. Moran and the 2nd for Sgt. Lewis. The pair of riders have been training all year for the ride.


“I am an avid cyclist and also passionate about law enforcement and recognizing the officers that have given their lives for this career,” said Lewis.

Close to their minds and hearts will be fallen officers. Lt. Moran will be riding in memory of Master Deputy Shane Robbins, from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.  The 15-year veteran died in the line of duty on April 26, 2013 when he was involved in a single-vehicle crash.  Sgt. Lewis will be riding to honor the memory of Officer Michael Crain, an 11-year veteran of the Riverside Police Department in California.  Officer Crain was shot and killed in the line of duty after being ambushed at a red light on February 3, 2013. Both Moran and Lewis will wear a metal bracelet with the fallen officer’s name engraved in it. Once arriving at the memorial site, they will present the family members with the bracelets.  

“When you ride into the police memorial in Washington, DC and see the faces of the family that you are riding for, it’s heart wrenching,” said Moran.  “But it’s also amazing when you get to meet the family and see how thankful they are for us remembering their loved one. It’s one of the most gratifying things I’ve done in my life.”

Both will also wear a small memento in honor of their own fallen comrade, Officer Arnulfo Crispin. Crispin was shot in the line of duty on December 18, 2011 and succumbed to his injuries three days later.  “The reason I joined the tour in 2012 was to honor the memory of Arnie,” said Moran. Officer Crispin’s family will be there in Washington to greet Moran, Lewis and the other riders participating in the tour.

Riders in the Unity Tours are either police officers or family members of fallen officers. Officer Lewis shared a memory from his first Unity Tour where a woman who was riding in memory of her husband. The woman began to struggle after about 70 miles into the ride. He watched as another officer whom she had never met put his hand on her back and pushed her for the next 40 miles so that she would not be dropped from the ride. “Riding a bike for 110 miles is impressive, but to push another rider for that distance was simply amazing to witness and truly in the spirit of the tour,” said Lewis.

Started in 1997 with only 18 riders, the event has grown to include over 1,700 riders from all over the United States. In total the event has raised almost $14 million for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.  Each year the ride culminates at during National Police Memorial week in Washington, DC.  Riders all converge at the same time at the National Law Enforcement memorial where thousands of family members of fallen officers and law enforcement supporters are waiting.

For each officer to participate they must raise $2,000.  Half of the money covers the expenses of the ride and the other half goes directly to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund.  If you would like to support these two officers, you can make a donation through their fundraising websites.

Sgt. Lewis’ fundraising website:  http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/MLewis/2014

 

Lt. Moran’s fundraising website:  https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/moranpoliceunitytour/2014

 

 

 

 


LPD Makes Arrests in Homicide of Damarco Powell

LPD Homicide Arrest Press Conference - 10:00am

 

On February 22, 2014, at approximately 3:17 a.m. Tiffany Powell Humphries reported her son, Damarco Powell missing to the Lakeland Police Department. On the same date, at approximately 5:07 a.m. Officer Ryan Back located Damarco Powell’s deceased body in the wooded section of the 1300 block of Atline Road. The decedent suffered an apparent gunshot wound to the back of the head and was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS personnel. 

 

On February 24th, the Defendant’s Taqiy Lewis and Tyler Knight were arrested in the late evening hours and charged with their involvement in the murder of Damarco Powell:

 

1)    Tyler M. Knight, B/M, 16 yrs old, 324 W. 10th Street, Lakeland, Fla.

Charge – First Degree Murder w/Firearm  View Arrest Affidavit

 

2)    Taqiy Malik Lewis, B/M, 16 yrs old, 2211 Dillie Street, Lakeland, Fla.

Charge – False Reports to Law Enforcement Concerning a Capital Felony  View Arrest Affidavit

 

 

According to witnesses, the decedent and Tyler Knight were part of a gang known as Armed And Dangerous (AAD). The investigation revealed that Knight and another witness allegedly received threats form the decedent that he was going to set them up. Witnesses stated that as they walked through the wooded area off Atline Road with the decedent, Knight pulled a handgun and shot the decedent in the back of the head. During the investigation, Taqiy Lewis provided false information to detectives which results in him being charged with false report to a law enforcement concerning a capital felony.

 


 

 

 

Tyler M. Knight










Taqiy Malik Lewis


LPD CHIEF WOMACK OFFICIALLY SEPARATES FROM THE CITY OF LAKELAND

LPD CHIEF WOMACK OFFICIALLY SEPARATES FROM THE CITY OF LAKELAND

 
LAKELAND, FL (February 21, 2014) -- Lakeland City Manager Doug Thomas has announced that Police Chief Lisa Womack and the City of Lakeland have agreed to accelerate her planned separation from the City from May 1, 2014 to February 17, 2014.  Chief Womack previously tendered her resignation on January 24th, with an effective date of May 1, 2014.  That period was intended to give the City time to prepare for her transition from the department as well as for her to provide support to the City on a number of ongoing personnel and other administrative matters involving the Lakeland Police Department.  Womack was placed on paid administrative leave on January 30th following receipt of a report alleging concerns involving various hiring practices of the Police Department. Assistant Chief Larry Giddens was subsequently appointed as Acting Chief of Police.
 
Under the terms of the agreement, Womack will continue to be available to provide support services to the City as needed through May 1, 2014, but she will do so as an independent consultant.  As such, effective February 17th, Womack no longer holds the title of Chief of Police.  As an independent consultant, she will be paid $5,800.00 every two weeks which includes her professional services, associated taxes as an independent contractor and the costs of benefits that she would have otherwise received should she have remained a City employee through May 1, 2014. 

The scope of services Womack will provide are as follows:  
  • Assist in providing information that may be required in support of defense of any administrative matters.
  • Provide advice, support and information in any collective bargaining matters, and/or any other legal or administrative proceedings regarding employee investigations and related disciplinary matters arising out of the Lakeland Police Department during her tenure as Chief of Police.  These services include, but are not limited to:
    • Assistance in preparing requested background materials and briefings for City administration and legal counsel;
    • Participation in discussions concerning labor and legal strategies;
    • Assistance in grievance processing; depositions and providing testimony as may be required.
  • Be available upon request to address departmental operational questions from City personnel as may be needed to assist in the orderly administration of the Lakeland Police Department.
  • Participate in any internal investigations that may require her testimony through May 1, 2014 or beyond, if required. 
In the event that additional administrative support services may required by the City Manager beyond May 1, 2014, Womack has agreed to be available to the extent reasonably possible on an hourly rate.
 
 

 


LPD CHIEF LISA WOMACK PLACED ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE

LAKELAND, FL (January 30, 2014) - Late this afternoon I was provided a copy of the Investigative Summary from the State Attorney’s Office regarding their review of the hiring practices used for a 2012 Lakeland Police Department Public Safety Aide position.  The report raises serious allegations against Police Chief Lisa Womack regarding potential violations of Florida Statutesinvolving Official Misconduct, in addition to alleged deviations from Lakeland Civil Service and Personnel Policies and Procedures.  It is my understanding from a review of the Investigative Summary, that the State Attorney’s Office has closed its review of the matter and is not pursuing any further actions. 

In response to the State Attorney’s report, and consistent with City of Lakeland Personnel Policies, I have placed Chief Womack on paid Administrative Leave, pending further review of the report, including appropriate background documentation and statements which may have been used in reaching their findings.  In the interim, I have appointed Assistant Chief Larry Giddens as Acting Chief of Police pending the outcome of the City’s review on the matter.

Given that many of the allegations in the report concern administrative City of Lakeland Policies and Procedures, it is appropriate that the City review the matter further to determine if any violations of policies have occurred.  Any subsequent actions if indicated will be taken following the results of that review.

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