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Lakeland Police Department Update and Announcement of Advisory Commission

WHO: Mayor Gow Fields and Chief Lisa Womack

 

WHAT: Update on Internal Investigation / Formation of Police Advisory Commission

 

WHEN: Friday, July 12th at 3 p.m. 

 

WHERE: Lakeland Police Department / Don Jones Community Room (2nd floor) / 219 N Massachusetts Ave

 

 

LAKELAND, FL (July 12, 2013) -- Mayor Gow Fields and Police Chief Lisa Womack will be holding a press conference to provide an update on the progress of the ongoing internal investigation and announce the formation of a Police Advisory Commission at 3:00PM in the Don Jones Community Room at the Lakeland Police Department.

 

The newly formed Advisory Commission, appointed by the Mayor, is a group of business and civic leaders who will be charged with recommending specific actions to improve community trust with the Lakeland Police Department. The Advisory Commission will be co-chaired by Joe P. Ruthven and Polk State College President Eileen Holden. 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.

 

"This Advisory Commission will be comprised of Lakeland People with a Lakeland Focus," said Fields."We want to assure the residents of Lakeland that we have heard their comments. This is about more than disciplinary actions. This is about restoring confidence with our police department."

 

The Advisory Commission will be asked to provide a specific timeline for progress reports and recommendations are expected in 60 to 90 days. 

 

 

 

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MAYOR GOW FIELDS STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO POLK COUNTY LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION LETTER

MAYOR GOW FIELDS STATEMENT

IN RESPONSE TO POLK COUNTY LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION LETTER

 

LAKELAND, FL (July 2, 2013) -- Our Polk County Legislative Delegation delivered a letter to City Hall late this afternoon that outlines their review of the recent State Attorney’s report regarding the sexual misconduct at the Lakeland Police Department.  We too are just as shocked as our Polk County Delegation by the alleged misconduct and we have vowed to deliver deliberate action to those that have disgraced the LPD badge.

 

Within the letter presented by the Polk County Legislative Delegation, it was recommended to invite Sheriff Grady Judd to work with the City in making reforms at the Lakeland Police Department.  The City of Lakeland has enjoyed our relationship with the Polk County Legislative Delegation as we have worked collaboratively for the betterment of our citizens.

The City of Lakeland has declared there will be action.  Not only has Chief Womack addressed the public in Monday’s City Commission meeting, she met with the public during her regularly scheduled Chief’s Chat last night.  During both of these public meetings, she made it very clear that the behavior outlined in the SAO report is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. 

 

I want to assure our community, the City Commission and all of our City employees that the Lakeland Police Department and the City Administration takes these matters very seriously and will take appropriate action once all the facts are known.  When it first became known to Police Chief Womack in early March she immediately opened an internal investigation to review the allegations and then she called Florida Department of Law Enforcement to assist in the investigation.

 

I just spoke to Sheriff Grady Judd and he is supportive of our Internal Affairs investigative process.  He did agree to make his agency available if we find it appropriate and necessary.  Two officers and one civilian employee have already resigned in the wake of the internal investigation being conducted by the Lakeland Police Department.

 

The City Commission is apprised of the process now taking place with the internal investigation and we have full confidence that Chief Womack will take deliberate action once the investigation has been concluded. 

 

We cherish our law enforcement partnerships, especially the bond that we have with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.  I know it is difficult, but we ask that our citizens be patient while the investigation continues.  We promise to keep our citizens informed as the investigation unfolds and you have my word that those who are proven to have acted inappropriately will be disciplined to the fullest extent.

 

Mayor Gow Fields

Mayor | City of Lakeland


ROAD WORK: LAKE HOLLINGSWORTH YACHT CLUB - JULY 8 - 11

Beginning July 8th, City of Lakeland construction crews will remove and replace the West most driveway at the Lake Hollingsworth Yacht Club.  Along with the driveway apron, a portion of the recreational path will be replaced.  For approximately 3 days pedestrians will be detoured into the bike lane for a short distance. Every effort will be made to minimize inconveniences.  Construction is scheduled for one week weather permitting.


ROAD CONSTRUCTION: GRIFFIN ROAD AT MALL HILL DRIVE

ROAD CONSTRUCTION NOTICE:  

Dallas 1 Construction will be performing roadway construction activities at the intersection of Griffin Road at Mall Hill Drive.  This will involve the closure of Mall Hill Drive at Griffin Road.  On Mall Hill Drive, the construction will include new turn lanes as well as a constructing a new concrete traffic separator in front of the new Lakeland Toyota building.  The new lane configuration of Mall Hill Road will consist of a newly constructed left-turn lane and a right-turn lane onto Griffin Road as well as a Northbound center through-lane.  There will also be updated curb ramps at the Southwest and Southeast corners of the intersection.  

 

The road closure and construction activities are anticipated to begin on June 27th and last approximately three weeks.