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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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“CAMP EXTRA” SUMMER ENRICHMENT PROGRAM REGISTRATION – SPOTS FILLING QUICKLY!

 

CITY OF LAKELAND PARKS & RECREATION DEPARTMENT

CAMP BLAST “CAMP EXTRA” SUMMER ENRICHMENT PROGRAM REGISTRATION – SPOTS FILLING QUICKLY! 

 

LAKELAND, FL (July 31, 2013) – Do you need a program for your elementary-aged child for the week between Summer Camp and the first day of school?  We have your solution!  The City of Lakeland is offering “Camp Extra”, a week-long summer recreation program located at the Kelly Recreation Complex. Camp begins Monday, August 12th and continues through Friday, August 16th from 7:30am – 5:30pm. The fee is $75.00 per child and can be paid by cash or check.  


Camp Extra offers elementary students, who have completed kindergarten through the 5th grade, fun and exciting opportunities for enrichment including swimming at Gandy Pool, on-site games, special activity programming and more!  

Don’t miss out on Camp Extra!   Registration is ongoing for this opportunity and spots are filling up quickly! For full details on camp dates, activities, etc. call the Kelly Recreation Complex, 863/834-3284, option 2.

 

 

 

 

 


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LAKELAND FIRE INSPECTOR DAVID BIVENS RESIGNS IN LIEU OF TERMINATION

LAKELAND FIRE INSPECTOR DAVID BIVENS RESIGNS IN LIEU OF TERMINATION

 

LAKELAND, FL (August 1, 2013) – Fire Inspector, David Bivens resigned today prior to his scheduled Pre-Disciplinary Hearing.  He was recommended for termination based on the Internal Investigation that involves sexual misconduct and a number of policy violations.  The 23 year employee is no longer employed by the City of Lakeland effective today, August 1, 2013.

 

LPD’s Office of Professional Standards (OPS) completed their review of all the relevant facts and evidence presented in the administrative investigation because Bivens possesses Police Standards which requires his investigation to be undertaken pursuant to the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights.  The OPS investigation included statements Bivens made under oath in conjunction with the State Attorney’s related investigation.

 

Based upon the conclusions of the investigation, Bivens Chain of Command and Fire Chief Gary Ballard recommended that he be terminated for the following policy violations:

·         Unethical conduct

·         Conduct off duty that impacts the workplace

·         Willful neglect of performance duties

·         Falsification of employee work records

·         Making false claims of sick leave 

 

Bivens was scheduled for his Pre-Disciplinary Hearing this morning and he submitted his resignation prior to the scheduled time of that hearing.

 

Lakeland Fire Chief Gary Ballard said, “I am very sad and disappointed that any member of our Fire Department would conduct themselves in this manner.  His (Bivens) individual actions should not be viewed in any way, shape or form as representative of the dedicated men and women of Lakeland Fire Department.”  Ballard added, “Conduct such as his will not be tolerated.”

 

Bivens is 48 years old and made $70,937 per year as a Fire Inspector for the Lakeland Fire Department. For more information regarding current investigations and for updates, please visit www.lakelandgov.net.

 

 

City Manager Doug Thomas and Fire Chief Gary Ballard will address the media today at 2:00 p.m. regarding this issue at City Hall in the City Commission Chambers. Lakeland City Hall is located at 228 South Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33801.  Attached is the signed resignation.

 

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LAKELAND POLICE ADVISORY COMMISSION MEMBER ANA RIVERA RESIGNS FROM PANEL DUE TO WORKLOAD AND HEALTH REASONS

LAKELAND POLICE ADVISORY COMMISSION MEMBER ANA RIVERA RESIGNS FROM PANEL DUE TO WORKLOAD AND HEALTH REASONS

LAKELAND, FL (July 30, 2013) - Ana Rivera, the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Polk County president, resigned Monday from the Lakeland Police Department Advisory Commission.  She cited an expanding workload in organizing chamber events and recent medical news as her reasons for resigning. Rivera said, “I've got so many things on my plate that when I saw what we had ahead of us with the Advisory Panel, I found it's going to be a lot of work and I don't think physically I'm prepared for it.”

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. She is excited about the work of the panel and has made some suggestions for me as to who can be appointed in her place.”

Mayor Fields plans to address the Lakeland Police Advisory Commission and present Rivera’s replacement at their upcoming meeting on Friday, August 2nd scheduled at 3 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall located at 228 S. Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL.

 

Mayor Gow Fields said, “We have assembled an advisory panel to review the current situation with LPD and City Hall in light of the State’s Attorney’s report to develop recommendations for making improvements.” He added, “The Panel is a diverse group, spanning a range of age, experience, gender, race and political affiliation and I feel confident that they will bring a citizens’ perspective to the issue.”

 

The advisory panel will conduct their business independently from City Administration with full support to meet with any public officials including but not limited to Chief Womack or any other personnel.

 

The Lakeland Police Advisory Commission has been charged to define and answer questions concerning the recent controversies involving the Lakeland Police Department and suggest specific actions that can be taken to improve community trust.  Specific questions to be addressed by the panel include:

·         Does the City and LPD have the appropriate processes in place to address current challenges?

·         What can be done to improve the culture within the LPD?

·         What can be done to improve citizen trust?                                                                                                        

The panel had their first meeting on Thursday, July 25th and during the meeting they named Bruce Abel and Tim Jackson as co-chairs.

For more information regarding the Lakeland Police Advisory Panel, go to www.lakelandgov.net.