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The latest happenings in your city government.


GANG TASK FORCE COMMUNITY FORUM

MAY 2OTH COLEMAN BUSH BUILDING @ 6PM

 

 LAKELAND, FL (May 7, 2014) - On Tuesday, May 20th there will be a Gang Task Force Community Forum at the Coleman-Bush Building starting at 6 p.m. In response to a number of recent gang influenced shootings, a Community Task Force has been established to help find solutions to combat growing concerns about gang activity.

 

Commissioner Phillip Walker, Chair of the Gang Task Force said, “There have been a number of gang related shootings in the last several months and the purpose of the task force is to identify the steps needed to help curb gang membership within the community.”  He added, “We would like to give a Task Force update on where we are to date and share with residents on what they can do to assist us because this issue must be addressed by the community as well as law enforcement.”

 

In a meeting on gang related issues held November 2013, members of the community helped identify areas of immediate need that includes both prevention and suppression tactics. These next steps and an action update will be discussed at the community forum. 

1. Organize and identify 1,000 mentors that can serve as role models to troubled teens. This can include other high school students in addition to college students.

2. Collaborate existing youth programs to make sure each program operator knows and understands the existence, capacity and focus of other community based programs. Assess whether more and different types of programming is needed for 13 - 18 year-olds and identify funding concerns.

3. Initiate a partnership between law enforcement and the Polk County School Board to make sure educators are trained and aware of the critical role they play in identifying students who are being groomed or pressured to be part of a gang.  The community also asked that law enforcement instill a County-wide school based gang education program and law enforcement responded to community concerns with a stronger presence in known gang areas.

Mayor Howard Wiggs said, “We need to have a holistic approach to identify and reduce the number of individuals who look at gangs as the answer to their problems.  The current gang issues affect all of us and we need to work together in finding a community solution.” 

 

LPD Assistant Chief Rick Taylor said, “In Lakeland we have approximately 300 documented gang members and associates. Right now we have 46 listed gangs with four very active gangs operating within our community.” The City of Lakeland asks the community to attend this important meeting as we work toward solutions to curb gang membership and identify resources needed to help reduce gang violence.  For more information on gang activity in Florida, please visit www.floridagangreduction.com and visitwww.lakelandgov.net/RefusetoLose.aspx to get more information on community youth programs and gang related topics.

 


Two Drive-By Shootings

 

 

LAKELAND, FL (April 26, 2014) - On April 26th, at 3:00pm, Dayquon Raheem Longs, 15 years old, was a passenger in a vehicle that was traveling southbound on Brunnell Parkway near George Jenkins Boulevard. There were three other subjects in the vehicle. A vehicle, unknown make and model, passed them firing rounds at the vehicle striking Longs in the left arm. The other subjects drove him to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center and police were notified by hospital personnel. His condition is unknown at this time. Patrol officers located the crime scene at 3:58 p.m. and Violent Crime Detectives responded to investigate. A passenger in this vehicle, Bayshawn Kelly, 15 years old is the victim in the next shooting described below.

 

While detectives were investigating the first shooting, another shooting occurred.  The second drive-by shooting occurred at 2nd Street and Jewel Avenue  at 6:50pm. The victim, Bayshawn Kelly was standing outside at this location when a vehicle drove by and fired several rounds hitting him in the back and arm. He was airlifted to Tampa in critical condition. There is no vehicle or suspect description in either case.

 

Both of these cases are currently under investigation and its unknown at this time if this was gang related or not. There is no additional information at this time. Anyone with information on either shooting can call 863-834-6900 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477.

 

 

 

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583-2357.


Armed Robberies, Easter Monrning

Lakeland Police need to identify this suspect of one armed robbery with a knife and one attempted robbery with a knife thatoccurred on April 20, 2014, within minutes of each other. One robbery occurred at the 7-11, 3071 S. Road 98 and the other at the Grove Park Chevron, 1315 S. Rd 98, Lakeland. The robberies occurred between 6:00am and 7:00am.

In both robberies the suspect entered the stores with a shirt wrapped around his face, brandished a knife and demanded cash from the store clerk. At the 7-11, the store clerk ran into the cooler and the suspect fled with no money. Minutes later, the suspect appeared at the Grove Park Chevron where the clerk gave the suspect cash and he fled on foot. 

The images were taken off the surveillance camera from the Grove Park Chevron. Neither victim was injured during the robbery. 
The man is described as a white male, 5’08” to 5’11, 130 pounds, 18 to 25 years of age. He was wearing gray sweat pants, a two tone black and gray long sleeve shirt, and black shoes. 

If you have any information regarding these robberies, please call Detective Stacey Pough at 863-834-6966.

 


Allegations Against Acting Chief Giddens Unfounded - Giddens Exonerated

LAKELAND, FL (April 18, 2014) - Allegations against Acting Chief Larry Giddens by Officer Will Long are determined to be unfounded and Giddens exonerated.  City Manager Doug Thomas said, “I’m pleased that we can now close this chapter and move on.  Ultimately the allegations against Chief Giddens were unfounded  in one instance and he was exonerated in another.”  

The issue stemmed from an allegations made by Long regarding him vacating his residence at Florida Southern’s Lake Morton Apartments where he had lived as an extra duty courtesy officer.  He was asked by Florida Southern to move-out of the apartments and was given a deadline of July 28, 2013.  After some issues regarding finding a new apartment, Long asked to have an extension and it was not granted.  Ultimately, the issue rose to up the Chain of Command where Giddens called Long to discuss the situation regarding the College’s decision for Long to vacate their apartment unit.  Long accused Giddens of conduct unbecoming and harassment in the workplace following the telephone conversation. Long felt that Giddens implied that he would remove Long from traffic operations if he did not comply and move out of the Lake Morton apartments by the deadline of July 28, 2013.

Please find attached the Investigative Summary, the City Manager Findings & Recommended Actions Form, and notification letters to both Long and Giddens on the results of the report.

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