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MAYOR FIELDS NAMES 15 MEMBER LAKELAND POLICE ADVISORY COMMISSION

MAYOR FIELDS NAMES 15 MEMBER LAKELAND POLICE ADVISORY COMMISSION

 

LAKELAND, FL (July 15, 2013) - Mayor Gow Fields has named the 15 members of the Lakeland Police Advisory Commission that will be co-chaired by Joe P. Ruthven and Dr. Eileen Holden. 

 

Joe Ruthven is a former Mayor of Lakeland and a successful community businessman for more than 50 years He is the founder and owner of “The Ruthvens” and Joe P. Ruthven Investments. Ruthven has also served as Chairman of the Lakeland Regional Medical Center board and Chairman for the Central Florida Economic Development Council.

 

Dr. Eileen Holden has been the president of Polk State College since 2006.  Polk State serves 20,000 students each year and it is home to Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety, one of the few college-affiliated police academies in the nation to earn CALEA accreditation, with excellence.  In additional to a distinguished academic career, Dr. Holden has served in leadership and advisory roles on numerous civic, charitable and economic boards.

 

Members of the Lakeland Police Advisory Commission include:

 

Dr. Anne Kerr - President of Florida Southern College

Dr. Elaine Thompson - CEO Lakeland Regional Health Systems and Lakeland Regional Medical Center

Frank O'Reilly - Former Mayor of Lakeland and Former Polk School Board Member

Katrina Lunsford - Vice President, Fifth Third Bank

Ana Rivera - President & CEO, Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Polk County

Dr. Jim Sewell - Retired FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement)

Tim Jackson - COO, NuJak Development & Chair-Elect, Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce

Rick Garcia - Owner & President, Gulf Coast Avionics

Dr. Kent Ingle - President, Southeastern University

Myra Bryant - President of the Lakeshore Neighborhood Association and President of Lakeland's Neighborhood Association Council

Mary Smith - President of the Dixieland Neighborhood Association

Paul Roberts - AP History and AP Government Teacher at Lakeland Sr. High School and Adjunct Professor at Everest University

Bruce Abels - Logistics & Supply Chain Professional, Retired as President of Saddle Creek Corporation after 15 years

 

Mayor Gow Fields said, “We have assembled an advisory panel of leading Lakeland citizens to review the current situation with LPD and City Hall in light of the State’s Attorney’s report to develop recommendations and benchmarks for making improvements and for holding officials accountable for delivering those 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 will report back to the Mayor of Lakeland’s office and to the people of Lakeland on their progress no later than 30 days from now with the goal to provide the Mayor and the people of Lakeland with their full observations and recommendations no later than September 16, 2013.

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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


SIMPSON PARK GYMNASIUM TO BE DEDICATED IN HONOR OF COACH MAC

SIMPSON PARK GYMNASIUM TO BE DEDICATED IN HONOR OF COACH MAC

 

LAKELAND, FL (June 12, 2013) -- At 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 15th the City of Lakeland will dedicate the gymnasium at Simpson Park in honor of Sylvester Douglas McArthur, known by many as Coach Mac who passed away February 2011 at the age of 75.  McArthur dedicated over 40 years to the betterment of his community through coaching and mentoring at risk youth. 

 

He was employed by the Polk County School Board for 26 years and the City of Lakeland for 15 years.  It was during this tenure as coach and recreation supervisor that he helped shape the lives of numerous young men and women. McArthur taught many children how to swim at Simpson Park Pool. He also was a football and basketball coach at Rochelle High and Lakeland Senior High.

 

Marquis Roberts, Recreation Supervisor II at Simpson Park Recreation Complex said, “I use to come to Simpson Park as a kid and I had some great positive role models like Coach Mac.  I saw how he dealt with the kids and I knew then that I wanted to be like him.”  He added, “Coach Mac was definitely an influence that helped shape me to be the man I am today and now I’m a Recreation Supervisor at the very same place where Coach Mac helped guide me.”

 

McArthur was a pillar in the African American community and a faithful member of Rose Heights Lodge 318. He was a major influence for a number of athletes from Lakeland to attend college and he assisted many to attend his beloved Bethune-Cookman University.

 

For all Coach Mac’s hard work and dedication to the City of Lakeland the Gymnasium will be dedicated in his honor on June 15, 2013 at 1 p.m.  The Simpson Park Community Center is located at 1725 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. 

 

For more information regarding the City of Lakeland and the Parks & Recreation Department, visit www.lakelandgov.net.  Follow the City of Lakeland through social media by searching City of Lakeland once you are logged-into Face Book or follow us on Twitter @ lakelandgov.

 

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TEMPORARY SOUTHWEST LAKELAND FIRE STATION OFFICIALLY OPENS

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

TEMPORARY SOUTHWEST LAKELAND FIRE STATION OFFICIALLY OPENS

 

WHO: Lakeland Fire Department

WHAT: Unveiling of new Fire Engine 71 at the Temporary Southwest Lakeland Fire Station located at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport

WHY: To provide fire and rescue service to Southwest Lakeland residents and businesses

WHEN: Monday, June 10, 2013 at 9 a.m.

WHERE:  In front of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport Terminal at 3900 Don Emerson Drive

 

LAKELAND, FL (June 7, 2013) – The Lakeland Fire Department will officially open the temporary fire facility at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport on Monday, June 10th at 9 a.m. with an unveiling of the new Fire Engine 71.  The temporary station will house Engine 71 and the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) unit that is dedicated to public safety inside airport property.    The temporary station will house six personnel on a 24-hour rotation with four dedicated to Engine 71 and two dedicated to the ARFF unit.

 

Engine 71 will be dedicated to serving residents and business in the Southwest Lakeland area.  The unit was delivered to the Lakeland Fire Department in early May and then it was outfitted with equipment to get ready for service.  Engine 71 was built in Appleton, Wisconsin by Pierce Manufacturing, a global leader in custom fire trucks and fire apparatus.  The unit is equipped with a 55’ sky boom to assist in elevated aerial firefighting and it will be staffed with at least one paramedic for rescue response.

 

The permanent Fire Station 7 is estimated to be completed summer 2014.  Once the facility is built it will house an additional fire fighting apparatus and 10 personnel on a 24-hour rotation.  Lakeland Fire Chief Gary Ballard said, “Our design team is preparing the bid documents for Station 7 and we expect those packets to be ready later this summer.  We hope to break ground for the new facility by early fall of this year.”  He added, “We are very eager to start providing much needed service to the citizens in Southwest Lakeland and our temporary station will do that until we get our permanent facility built.”

 

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