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The latest happenings in your city government.


FIREFIGHTER TAYLOR RILEY RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD FROM FIREHOUSE MAGAZINE FOR HEROISM & COMMUNITY SERVICE! 


 

One of Lakeland’s finest, Firefighter Taylor Riley of Station 1 was recognized by Firehouse Magazine, by being selected as an awardee of their annual Heroism and Community Service Award. Taylor was selected as one of fifty firefighters in the nation, and the only winner from Florida, for his incredible act of bravery when he entered a burning building last December to rescue a young boy. The building was 95% engulfed in flames when he entered. 


Taylor was recommended by his Battalion Chief Michael Williams for the award and was selected by a panel of fire service professionals from across the country.

Congratulations to Taylor Riley and thank you for serving the people of Lakeland so well.

This is a picture of the building when he went in. Not before or after, but during. AMAZING!



LFD Promotes Mike Smith to Driver-Engineer!


On Tuesday, August 06, 2013 Mike Smith of Station 3 was promoted to Driver-Engineer.

Mike was joined by his wife Laura and LFD colleagues to celebrate his professional advancement with the Lakeland Fire Department. Originally from Ft. Lauderdale, Mike is a graduate of the Hillsborough Community College where he was recognized for his academic achievements in Fire Standards. He has been with the department since 2007 and was commended by Chief Ballard during the ceremony for being one of the department’s top paramedics.

A big congratulations and sincere thanks to Mike Smith for his years of dedicated service.


 

The bond forged between the men and women in fire service is universal, regardless of when or where they’ve served. Proof of that was on a recent visit made by the Lakeland Fire Department’s Assistant Chief Doug Riley, along with Station # 5 ‘s Lt. Jim Hewitt, Engineer-Driver Steve Herndon, and Firefighter Jason Vickers who visited retired Massachusetts Firefighter George Coughlin at Clairbridge Place in Lakeland on August 6, 2013. They reached out to Mr. Coughlin to welcome him to the community and for the opportunity to bond over tales of service as firefighters.  

 

Mr. Coughlin served as a firefighter for over 25 years and upon retiring in Polk County became very involved with fire service related issues in his community. He led the charge and was instrumental in the building of an additional fire station in nearby Winter Haven, and now as a new resident of Lakeland plans to become equally as involved. Firefighters from Station 5 plan to visit regularly to continue to grow the relationship and learn a lesson or two from a this valuable veteran of fire service.

 

Regardless of disparity in age or location of service, its examples like these that make it clear that firefighting is not a career choice but rather a lifestyle.

 


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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