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The latest happenings in your city government.


CLICK IT OR TICKET SAFETY BELT ENFORCEMENT WAVE

The Lakeland Police Department wants to remind motorists to Click It or Ticket this holiday season. Each year, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times, millions of people will be traveling to visit with family and friends. What this means is that there will be more vehicles on the roads, and more danger as we travel. It is always important to buckle up, but when there are the additional vehicles on the roads, it is more important than ever. We want everyone to have a happy and safe holiday season; therefore the Lakeland Police Department will join with departments across the state in the Click It or Ticket Safety Belt Enforcement Wave. The enforcement runs from Monday, November 17, 2014 through Sunday, November 30, 2014 at midnight. 

Nationwide, seat belt usage is at an all-time high of 87 percent, but the Click It or Ticket campaign aims to reach that remaining 14 percent. In 2012, there were 10,335 unbuckled occupants killed in crashes—52 percent of all passenger vehicle occupants killed that year. At night, the numbers are even more disturbing. During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2012, law enforcement noted that 69 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed at night were unrestrained, as compared to 46 percent during the day. 

The single best thing anyone can do to protect themselves and save lives is to buckle up. It only takes a second!

For more information about traveling safely during Thanksgiving, please visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.


Eight Year Old Child Hit by Car

 

LAKELAND, FL (October 2, 2014)

 

On October 2, 7:25 a.m., The Lakeland Police Department responded to a pedestrian hit by a vehicle at 3537 Cleveland Heights Blvd. Brianna Rivera, 8 years old, was crossing the roadway walking west and stepped in front of the vehicle at which time she was hit. The vehicle, 2012 Honda Accord, 4dr, driven by Iam Peter Bhisitkul, 85 years old, was southbound  in the inside lane. Bhisitkul stated he never saw Rivera and only heard something strike his vehicle. He then came to a control stop in the median area and got out and observed that Rivera had been hit.

 

Rivera was transported to Arnold Palmer Hospital as a trauma alert due to a head injury. The last report on Riveras condition is that she is doing well and may be released from hospital care this evening. Bhisitkul was not issued a citation.

 


LONGABERGER GRIEVANCE DENIED

 

LAKELAND, FL (August 29, 2014) - The City of Lakeland just received the Arbitration Award from Barry J. Baroni regarding the termination of former Lakeland Police Department Sergeant Russell (Rusty) Longaberger.  The hearing was conducted on April 16, 2014 under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.  The arbitrator denied the grievance outlined by Longaberger.  The report concluded that “It is the Arbitrator’s considered opinion that termination was the appropriate form of discipline and that there was just cause for the termination of Longaberger.”

 

Lakeland Interim Police Chief Larry Giddens said, “We support the decision made by the arbitrator in this case. The arbitration process was fair and objective and we support the conclusion drawn by the arbitrator.” Arbitrator Baroni concluded that in addition to the loss of community trust that there was consideration regarding the State Attorney’s “Death Letter” which removes a considerable amount of the grievant to continue functioning as a Police Officer within the Department.

 

City Manager Doug Thomas said, “The arbitration was a very involved process that started in April.  We are pleased that the arbitrator upheld the City’s disciplinary action and denied the grievance.  We are glad to close the disciplinary chapter in this matter and the City of Lakeland can continue to concentrate on moving forward.”

View Arbitration Award From Barry J. Baroni




The Lakeland Police Department recently arrested Carl Stewart Jr., a known burglary suspect, and he has been directly linked to six residential burglaries.  On August 3rd, Stewart was arrested and he has been charged with burglary and grand theft. He has been charged with the following residential burglaries: 

         LPD Event #14-15691 – 2421 Cambridge Avenue (7/31/14)

         LPD Event #14-15814 – 620 Chatham Drive (8/1/14)

         LPD Event #14-15932 – 715 W Magnolia Street (8/3/14)

         LPD Event #14-15924 – 2608 Jonila Avenue (8/6/14)

         LPD Event #13-25175 – 2205 Fairmont Avenue (12/29/13)

         LPD Event #14-62 – 600 Easton Drive (1/2/14)

Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens said, “Stewart has an extensive criminal history and is well known by  departmental  members. By combining this knowledge and excellent teamwork exhibited by patrol, K-9, and our detectives Stewart was arrested and taken off our streets".  LPD asks that citizens keep their doors and windows locked in their homes and advise residents to not leave their garage door up when not in use.  Giddens said, “We ask citizens to be vigilant and if something doesn’t look right, then please call us so we can check it out.” 

There have been a number of car break-ins lately and the Lakeland Police Department would like to remind citizens to “Lock It, or Lose It”.  When cars are left unlocked, it provides an easy opportunity for a thief to burglarize property. The vast majority of vehicle burglaries reported to the Lakeland Police Department could be avoided if citizens would take an extra minute to make sure valuables are removed from vehicles, hidden from view or locked in the trunk. 

If you want more information on crimes that may be occurring in your neighborhood, you can go to the Lakeland Police Department website at www.lakelandgov.net/lpd and click on the RAIDSONLINE Crime Mapping tool.  Through this service, you can find information on crimes that are occurring in your neighborhood, or anywhere else in the city.