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RELEASE OF GRAND JURY PRESENTMENT


CONTACT:

kevincook

Director of Communications | City of Lakeland

228 S. Massachusetts Ave.  Lakeland, FL 33801

863/834-6264 (PH) |www.lakelandgov.net

Twitter @lakelandgov

 

 

RELEASE OF GRAND JURY PRESENTMENT

 

LAKELAND, FL (December 13, 2013) The City of Lakeland welcomes the release of the Presentment today.  The grand jury was convened about a year ago to look into the Lakeland Police Department’s ability and intention to comply with the Public Records Laws of Florida, and the manner in which those primarily responsible for public records in the department were employed, trained and evaluated. 

 

STATEMENT FROM CITY MANAGER DOUG THOMAS

The Grand Jury process was followed, every criticism has been judicially reviewed, and the conclusion is that no one has been charged with a crime.  “Put simply, you will see that there is no smoking gun in the Presentment – there is not even a water pistol.”  He added, “Additionally, and despite rumors to the contrary that have occurred between when the Presentment was issued and today, you will see that it has nothing to do with the various LPD workplace misconduct issues that have been reported in the media during this past summer.”

 

There are 3 points that that I would like everyone to remember: 

 

1.   First, no one has been charged with a crime

 

2.  Second, the Presentment is the grand jury’s opinion based upon a closed-door process that by its very nature is one-sided and can often result in half-truths, distortions and inaccurate conclusions. While we respect the service of the grand jury, unlike a criminal indictment issued by a grand jury which has to be proved in a court of law, those who are the subject of a Presentment have no way to prove the errors in a Presentment until after it is written.  As such, the Presentment does not represent the whole truth and nothing but the truth – but rather a one-sided opinion developed behind closed doors. 

 

As you will see, there is a lot to object to in the grand jury’s opinions.  The procedure for permanently sealing Presentments is provided in state statute and it is the only way individuals can protect themselves from information, opinions and conclusions in a Presentment that they believe to be incorrect.  Several individuals availed themselves of that protection which is their right, and filed motions to ask the court to keep it sealed permanently.  As such, the legal challenge by City employees that was utilized constituted a legislatively authorized request by those concerned for due process; the opportunity to respond to “improper or unlawful” statements that may accomplish nothing more than to impugn the personal and professional reputations of those involved.  The employees believed the criticisms in the Presentment were wrong then, and that they are just as wrong, inaccurate and unfair now.

 

We will be providing you today with a 19-page document that will provide information which may not have been considered by the grand jury and to tell “the other side of the story.” 

 

3.  Lastly, given the time that has passed from the issuance of the Presentment to its release today, most of the issues in the Presentment are old news.  A number of changes in policies, training and personnel have already been made to improve the manner in which the LPD processes Public Record Requests to ensure the public receives requested records as expeditiously as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 


CONSTRUCTION ON LAKE BEULAH TRAIL BEGINS THIS WEEK

CITY TO START CONSTRUCTION ON

LAKE BEULAH TRAIL PROJECT

 

LAKELAND, FL (December 9, 2013) – During the week of December 9th, City of Lakeland crews will start construction on the Lake Beulah Trail project in Downtown Lakeland. 

 

The Florida Department of Transportation and the Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency (LCRA) are funding the Lake Beulah Trail in order to beautify this gateway into Lakeland and the surrounding neighborhoods and to improve conditions for bicyclists, pedestrians and transit patrons.  Through this project, the existing five-foot wide concrete sidewalk will be replaced with an eight to ten-foot wide asphalt multi-use trail.  This project also includes the installation of decorative lighting along the trail, landscaping and transit stop improvements including the construction of a new transit shelter at the Hartsell Avenue intersection.

 

Construction is expected to be completed in Spring 2014.  Periodic lane closures are possible throughout the duration of this project.  Motorists are asked to use caution and watch for construction workers within the project area.

 

For more information, contact Mike Whigham at (863) 834-3300. 

 

 

 

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GAS PIPELINE MAINTENANCE – LOUD NOISE MAY BE HEARD

GAS PIPELINE MAINTENANCE – LOUD NOISE MAY BE HEARD

 

The City of Lakeland will be purging approximately 7 miles of natural gas pipeline so that a qualified gas pipeline contractor can install a new valve. The venting process will take place on December 3, 2013 at 3200 Old Polk City Road.  There could be a very loud high pitched noise that may last up to one hour as the system is purged.

 

When pipeline segments are taken out of service for maintenance purposes, it is standard practice to depressurize the pipeline and vent the system.  An inert gas (nitrogen) is used to purge any residual natural gas contained within the pipeline to make it safe for the maintenance work to occur.

 

After the new valve is installed, natural gas will be allowed to flow back into the pipeline at the McIntosh Power Plant located at 3030 East Lake Parker Drive.

The recharging of the natural gas pipeline is scheduled to occur between December the 4-6 depending on how the work progresses.  When the inert gas is purged there will be a loud high pitched noise once again at 3200 Old Polk City Road.

 


ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARADE AND FIREWORKS SCHEDULED

ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARADE AND FIREWORKS SCHEDULED

 

 

LAKELAND, FL (November 25, 2013) – The annual Lakeland Christmas Parade is scheduled for Thursday, December 5, 2013. The parade begins at The Lakeland Center at 7:00 p.m. and ends at 9:00 p.m. at The Lakeland Center. The downtown area streets along the parade route will close at 5:00 p.m. Lime Street between Sykes Boulevard and Lake Beulah will close at noon.

 

For all parade events citizens are encouraged to use the Orange Street parking garage. The Orange Street garage is not on the parade route and visitors can enter or leave during the parade. All other parking garages are on the parade route, and vehicles will not be permitted to leave the garage until the conclusion of the parade.

 

The theme for the 2013 Christmas parade is “I’m Dreaming of…” and there are over 120 participants in this year’s parade including floats, marching bands and a jolly fellow in a sleigh.

 

A fireworks display that officially starts the parade will take place on Lake Mirror at 7:00 p.m. The fireworks will last approximately 15 minutes. The parade route begins at The Lakeland Center, travels along Lemon Street, turns left on Tennessee, proceeds right onto Main Street, goes around Lake Mirror and then heads back to The Lakeland Center via Orange Street (View Parade Map ).

 

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