City News Blog

rss

The latest happenings in your city government.


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.

-END-

 


 

CITY CHALLENGE URBAN MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE

DOWNTOWN LAKELAND

 

LAKELAND, FL (April 15, 2014) -  Red Trail Racing of Lakeland will host the City Challenge Urban Mountain Bike Race in downtown Lakeland on Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.  The registration and head table for the event will be in front of City Hall on Lemon Street.  Registration for the event will start at 5 p.m. with a practice session starting at 6 p.m. before the racing starts around 6:30 p.m.

 

Ray Wells, promoter of the event said, “I’m excited and we have almost 150 racers that will be participating in this very unique urban mountain bike format.  In fact, I am not aware of any other urban mountain bike race in the nation and we started it all right here in Lakeland.” 

 

The urban criterium is a mountain bike race on asphalt and stairs that winds through the Iowa Street Parking garage and along Lemon Street in front of City Hall.  Spectators are admitted free and can view the outlined course along Iowa Street and the Iowa Street Garage from designated positions.  

 

The Iowa Avenue Parking Garage will be closed because it is part of the race course. The portion of Iowa Avenue between Lakeland’s City Hall and Lakeland Electric will be closed and a portion of Lemon Street will be closed for through traffic at Massachusetts Avenue.

 

Wells said, “This year we’ve added a cyclocross event where participants race their bike on the course backwards having to carry their bikes up the many stairs in the course instead of riding down them.”  

 

Visit www.redtrailracing.com for more information and to register for the Lakeland Urban Mountain Bike Race .

 

-END-


 


Teacher Arrested After Having Sex with Student


LAKELAND, FL (April 15, 2014) - On April 14, the Lakeland Police Department received information from the victim’s mother that her son was engaged in sexual activity with his English teacher who is employed at the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, 4141 Medulla Road, Lakeland, Florida. The English teacher has been identified as Jennifer Christine Fichter, 29 years of age. It was discovered that the victim, 17 years of age and Fichter had been texting each other with Fichter using two different alias’ and later meeting in the early morning hours for sex in the parking lot of the Reserve Apartments, 4920 State Road 33, Lakeland. The sexual encounters occurred in Fichters vehicle.

 

The victim’s mother discovered this relationship after reviewing text messages from her son and she asked that Fichter respond to her residence to talk. According to the victim’s mother, Fichter admitted to the sexual encounters and professed her love for him. 

 

The victim admitted to his involvement with detectives saying that they met for sex a total of 3 times at the Reserve Apartments and 3 times at another location off of New Tampa Highway within the city limits. In addition, the victim admitted to sex numerous times outside the cities jurisdiction and within the jurisdiction of Polk and Hillsborough County. These incidents are currently under investigation by both agencies. 

 

Jennifer Christine Fichter was arrested at her residence at 11:40 p.m., and later transported to the Polk County Jail. Fichter has been charged with Unlawful Sexual Activity With A Minor (6 counts).

 

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583-2357.


 


LPD CHIEF GIDDENS COMPLAINTS BY RETIRED OFFICER MOCK DETERMINED TO BE UNFOUNDED – GIDDENS EXONERATED

LAKELAND, FL (April 10, 2014) - City Manager Doug Thomas recently completed the internal investigation associated with retired Police Officer Jimmy Mock’s complaint against Chief Giddens and Lisa Womack.   The allegations made by Mr. Mock against Chief Giddens were determined to be unfounded in two instances and Chief Giddens was exonerated in the third allegation.  Lisa Womack was exonerated in the sole allegation made against her by Mr. Mock.   

Thomas said, “We fully investigated the allegations made by Mr. Mock through the Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards and after complete review, the findings prove to be unfounded on two of the allegations and Chief Giddens was exonerated in the third allegation.”  He added, “We take these allegations very seriously and we continue to push the Department to be the best that they can be.  We are in the final stages of completing the other internal investigation involving a complaint against Chief Giddens and that investigation is expected to be concluded and released to the media next week.” 

Please find attached a copy of the Investigative Report Summary, as well as the related Findings and Recommended Action Forms to Chief Giddens and Lisa Womack.  Also attached is a copy of the transmittal letter to Mr. Mock informing him of the findings of the investigation. 

-END-