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Notice of Disciplinary Action

On August 15, 2013, Lakeland Police finalized disciplinary action on Detective Ricky J. Gries. 

Detective Gries submitted a letter of resignation today. The resignation was in lieu of recommended termination. Chief Womack completed her review of all the relevant facts and evidence presented in the administrative investigation, including statements Detective Gries made under oath in conjunction with the State Attorney’s related investigation. The sustained violations are: 

Ricky J. Gries, 42, employed since 1/13/03. (Resigned) 

a. Conduct Unbecoming 
b. Member’s Duty to Report Misconduct 
c. Neglect of Duty 
d. Untruthfulness 

We are unable to provide any further information due to the ongoing internal investigation. 

 


CITY OF LAKELAND GENERAL EMPLOYEES DISCIPLINED FOR MISCONDUCT

CITY OF LAKELAND GENERAL EMPLOYEES DISCIPLINED FOR MISCONDUCT


view report / investigations of allegations by Sue Eberle 

 

LAKELAND, FL (August 15, 2013) – City Manager Doug Thomas announced today that the City of Lakeland has concluded an investigation of sexual misconduct allegations made by Sue Eberle that named six current non-sworn general employees. Based upon the results of the investigation, there is conclusive evidence that two of the six employees violated City of Lakeland policy and will receive recommended three-day suspensions without pay. 

 

On May 2, 2013, Thomas directed staff to have Lakeland Police Department (LPD) Office of Professional Standards take the lead on investigations involving all LPD sworn and civilian employees, including any Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) employees that may be subject to the Firefighter Bill of Rights, but all other General Employees would be reviewed by investigators from the Human Resources Department.  The Human Resources Investigators reported directly to the City Manager’s Office.  None of the employees named in the investigation supervised Eberle and none of them worked directly with her in the same Department at the time of the allegations.

 

Bryan Fluke, employed since January 1988 and currently a Maintenance Coordinator for Lakeland Electric, admitted to having a consensual relationship with Eberle while employed by the City.  This is substantiated by Eberle’s testimony which would indicate that the relationship commenced in the mid-1990.  Based on Fluke’s testimony, no inappropriate behavior took place at work or on City property.  However, Fluke did violate City email policy and he was untruthful in the investigation which is a policy violation for which he will receive a three-day suspension without pay.  Fluke’s only other disciplinary action involved a 1993 oral warning regarding a verbal dispute he had with another employee. 

 

Jose Diez, employed since February 2008 and currently an Information Technology Support Analyst III, admitted to more recent inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature with former LPD Crime Analyst Tiffany Dwyer outside a break room at the Lakeland Police Department.  Dwyer previously resigned on May 14, 2013 while under investigation.  Both Diez and Dwyer maintain that the conduct was consensual.  However, the conduct was inappropriate and it was a violation of City policy for which he will receive a three-day suspension without pay.  Diaz has no prior disciplinary actions.

 

Thomas stated “The City of Lakeland is clearly disappointed in the actions of Mr. Fluke and Mr. Diez that have been verified as violations of our Personnel Policies.  Their actions were clearly inappropriate and fall short of our organizational values that each and every employee is expected to reflect in their performance of their job responsibilities.”  

 

Other employees named within the investigation include:

 

Gary Gonyer, employed since September 1997 and currently a Traffic Control Foreman, admitted that he and Eberle had a consensual sexual relationship, but not on City time or on City property.  This information was substantiated by Eberle who stated that they had met offsite which is not a violation of City Policy.

 

Jerry Doss, employed since October 1980 is currently a Multicraft Operator, denied the allegations and there is not sufficient evidence to substantiate Eberle’s claims.

 

Shawn Maguire, employed since October 1988 and currently an Industrial Coatings Specialist, denied the allegation against him by Eberle and claimed he was physically incapable of performing the alleged act due to his recovery from  a serious work-related incident that left him in a full body cast and months of recovery as substantiated by workers compensation and medical records.

 

Dennis Herbert has been employed since July 2001 and he is currently a Safety Coordinator.  Eberle alleged that Hebert wanted to be more than co-workers which he denies.  The investigation failed to identify sufficient evidence to substantiate Eberle’s claim.

 

The investigation into the non-sworn general employees included two rounds of interviews with the named employees, a review of email records and  interviews with 15 current employees identified as co-workers and/or supervisors (who were possible witnesses of alleged inappropriate behavior) of the six named employees.  None of the 15 witness employees could substantiate Eberle’s specific allegations.  Also, the length of time that has lapsed between the conduct alleged and the interviews of the six named non-sworn employees affected their recall of the events as well as the ability to probe further given that some of the allegations date back to 1993.

 

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Lakeland Police Department Awarded National Accreditation

Lakeland Police Department Awarded National Accreditation

The Lakeland Police Department is proud to announce that it received national accreditation on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at the Summer Conference in Columbus, Ohio. 

To receive accreditation, the Lakeland Police Department had to comply with 480 internationally accepted standards for the operation of police organizations. In April, a team of assessors from CALEA examined all aspects of the Department’s policy and procedures, operations, management, and support services to verify they met the Commission’s state-of-the-art standards. The process holds the department accountable and sets the bar for professionalism. 

On Saturday morning, members of the department appeared before a panel of review Commissioners. Saturday evening a vote was taken and accreditation was awarded to the department. 

Chief Womack said, “I am pleased that the Lakeland Police Department has regained their accredited status and thank all of the men and women of this department for their dedication and commitment to excellence.” She went on to say, “This department is moving forward and I think this shows our community that this department stands ready to serve them.” 

This voluntary process towards accreditation means that the Lakeland Police Department is dedicated to providing the best service to the citizens of Lakeland. 

For more information on accreditation, go to www.calea.org

This information is available at www.lakelandgov.net/lpd and on Facebook. 

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.834.4314. 

 


MARIA TORRES TO REPLACE ANA RIVERA ON LAKELAND POLICE ADVISORY COMMISSION LPD UPDATE SITE CREATED TO KEEP COMMUNITY INFORMED

MARIA TORRES TO REPLACE ANA RIVERA ON LAKELAND POLICE ADVISORY COMMISSION

LPD UPDATE SITE CREATED TO KEEP COMMUNITY INFORMED

LAKELAND, FL (August 2, 2013) -- Mayor Gow Fields announces Maria Torres as a replacement member of the Lakeland Police Advisory Commission for Ana Rivera who cited expanding workload in organizing chamber events and recent medical news as her reasons for resigning.  Torres will be introduced at the 3 p.m. Lakeland Police Advisory Commission meeting that will take place today at City Hall (228 S. Massachusetts Avenue).

Torres works as an Activities Coordinator/Resident Service Coordinator in a premier gated community.  Torres is also a Spanish and Arts & Crafts instructor for the Wing Chun/Just Dance Summer Camp and Afterschool Program. Torres is the President of Just Cares, Inc., a non-profit organization created to bring enrichment to peoples’ lives through art and educational programs.  Torres is a State of Florida Notary Public and a member of the National Notary Association, also a graduate from the Lakeland Police Department Citizens Academy. Torres said, “I enjoy working with others to help make a difference in people’s lives. This kind of giving back has always been close to my heart and I look forward to working with the Police Advisory Commission as we look at ways to restore trust within the Lakeland Police Department.”

Torres was appointed to replace Ana Rivera, the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Polk County president who resigned from the LPAC panel on Monday.  Mayor Gow Fields said, “In a phone conversation on Monday, Ana shared with me that she and her husband were informed last Friday that he will be facing major surgery.”  He added, “This along with her work schedule and the work for Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will be too much for her to continue.”

The Lakeland Police Advisory Commission, appointed by Mayor Gow Fields, is a group of business and civic leaders who are charged with recommending specific actions to improve community trust with the Lakeland Police Department. The Advisory Commission is chaired by Bruce Abels and co-chaired by Tim Jackson. Among the tasks, they will be looking to see if cultural changes are needed and what steps may need to be taken to ensure that employees of the City of Lakeland feel comfortable about bringing complaints forward.

 

The Lakeland Police Department is currently conducting a series of internal investigations and as a way to keep the community informed, the City of Lakeland has compiled information pertaining to these investigations in one place.  The Lakeland Police Advisory Commission has also been formed to define and answer questions concerning the recent controversies involving the Lakeland Police Department.  The group will review policies, conduct research regarding the Department and suggest actions that can be taken to improve community trust.  Materials requested by the Advisory Commission will also be shared with the community and published on this site. For more information regarding the Lakeland Police Advisory Panel and to learn more about the internal investigations, go to www.lakelandgov.netand click on the LPD Update button.

 

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