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The latest happenings in your city government.


LAKELAND, FL (August 23, 2013) -- The City of Lakeland has received its final report from former Judge Monterey Campbell regarding the review of the Lakeland Police Department’s (LPD) public record process.  Judge Campbell was retained by the City to specifically review LPD’s public record requests processes to ensure conformance with Florida Statutes and provide recommendations regarding potential enhancements to current practices.  Campbell concluded that LPD has procedures in place to provide full disclosure to the satisfaction of the requesting party.  (A complete copy of Judge Campbell’s report)  It can also be accessed at www.lakelandgov.net/LPDUpdate.aspx.
 
The report states that in the spirit of full disclosure, if there is a gray area of whether a law enforcement exemption to disclosure applies and it is not harmful to LPD’s duty to protect the public, then LPD should err on the side of releasing the information.  Campbell said, “I am reliably assured that where possible that will be the policy and practice that LPD intends to follow going forward, even if it has been perceived not to have been so in the past.”
 
As part of the study into the public records process at LPD, Campbell met with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), the Tampa Police Department (TPD) and he visited editorial staff from The Ledger.  In the report, Campbell noted that the procedures adopted and in place and the practices followed by all of the law enforcement agencies were very similar.  Campbell suggested that LPD continue to work with the PCSO and TPD in a collaborative effort to assist each other in helpful procedures that further the freedom of access of public records.
 
Chief Womack said, “I am very pleased that Judge Campbell found our process very similar to the PCSO and TPD.  We will continue to review best practices and foster collaborative relationships with our neighboring law enforcement agencies.”   She added, “Judge Campbell met with myself and senior staff at LPD and he particularly liked some of the practices that we have put in place like our Public Records Handbook and the Public Records Training Guide that was designed to be a quick reference to answer common questions that pertain to public records access.”
 
“I am persuaded that LPD is taking every step necessary to provide a willing and cooperative openness to their records in accord with the basic interest, purpose and requirement of our public records laws,” said Campbell.  “Chief Womack assured me of her intent and policy that LPD will freely provide complete openness to their records except where the law established that public safety and third party interests require that certain restrictions are applicable.”
 
The report states that it is important that the public has confidence that LPD will perform its disclosure responsibilities in good faith. Campbell said, “My consideration of the process currently in place with LPD and the practices being followed regarding compliance with public records requests has persuaded me that there exists a good faith effort to meet the rightful expectations of the public.”
 
City Manager Doug Thomas said, “I‘ve had a chance to briefly review the report and it seems as though the practices that the LPD has implemented regarding public records disclosure have resulted in a favorable review by Judge Campbell.  We will continue to consider further enhancements in both the LPD’s and the City of Lakeland’s public record requests processes such as implementing specialized  records tracking software, expanding communication capabilities and improved media relations.”
 
Campbell concluded the report by noting a court observation regarding public records disclosure, “the purpose behind the examination of the various provisions for exemptions, restrictions and confidentiality pertaining to public records disclosure is not to decide whether there are sufficient reasons to release requested information but rather decide whether there are sufficient reasons not to release it.”  Campbell said, “It appears to me that LPD understands and is on course of applying that concept.”
 
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QUICK MOVING STORM RESULTS IN THOUSANDS WITHOUT POWER

 

LAKELAND, FL (August 22, 2013) - At the peak of yesterday’s very intense storm there were 15,052 Lakeland Electric customers who were without power.  The storm moved through the area quickly but Lakeland Linder Regional Airport reported 65 mph winds with some areas of Lakeland also receiving over two-inches of rain.   Most of Lakeland Electric’s customers who initially lost energy due to the storm had their electricity restored quickly because of system control’s ability to reroute power. 

 

However, as of 8:30 p.m. last night about 800 customers were without power and as of 8:00 a.m. this morning approximately 200 customers are still without power. Lakeland Electric still has the following issues to repair:

-          6 Bad transformers

-          3 Broken poles

-          19 locations with downed wires

Lakeland Electric had 50 line workers who worked diligently overnight to restore power.  Twenty-eight fresh crew members reported this morning to continue the restoration work. Lakeland Electric has also enlisted the help of Bartow and Kissimmee who are each sending four crew members to assist in final restoration.

 

For more information regarding Lakeland Electric go to www.lakelandelectric.com and to view up to date power outages click on the Power Outage Tracker button on the home page. The Outage Tracker shows a map with the current outages for the Lakeland Electric Service Territory. The map is updated every five minutes in order to give customers the most recent information.

 

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Contractors working for the City of Lakeland will be resurfacing Lakeland Highlands Rd (From Glendale Ave North to E. Edgewood Dr.) during the week of August 26th thru 29th. 

Milling of the old surface will begin on Monday followed by the re-paving. The work is expected to take one week to complete.

Roads will remain open; however delays are expected during this work.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

If you have any questions you may reach Troy McCain Pavement Coordinator at 863 834-3300.



Lakeland Fire Chief Gary Ballard has given the City of Lakeland one more reason to be proud. On July 24 Chief Ballard was selected as the Second Vice President for the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association (FFCA). Having served as the West Central Regional Director for the FFCA in years past, Chief Ballard will now be able to share his 36+ years of experience in an expanded capacity with fire service leaders from all over Florida as Vice President.

This professional platform will allow Chief Ballard to showcase the excellent emergency services that the Lakeland Fire Department offers the people of Lakeland, as well as create additional networking opportunities that will add to the quality of the fire department’s services. 

The FFCA is made up of fire and emergency professionals from all ranks representing all regions of Florida. The association’s mission is to promote and support excellence in fire & emergency services. The association does so by recognizing the fields best and brightest, offering scholarships, fundraising for charity, and providing professional development. With Chief Ballard in this new leadership position, he will undoubtedly continue to expand those efforts.

Congratulations to Chief Ballard and sincere thanks for increasing the City of Lakeland’s presence throughout the state.