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CONTACT:
Kevin Cook
Director of Communications
City of Lakeland
863/834-6264
Twitter @lakelandgov

 

 

GIDDENS NAMED AS HEAD OF LAKELAND POLICE DEPARTMENT

KIRK NAMED AS ASSISTANT CHIEF

 

 

 

LAKELAND, FL (December 17, 2014) – City Manager Doug Thomas is very pleased to announce that two of 

the threefinalists for the Lakeland Police Department’s Chief of Police will be part of the administration that will continue to move the Department forward. Larry Giddens who was serving as the Department’s Interim Chief was named Lakeland’s Chief of Police and Lieutenant Colonel Tony Kirk will move from his current position as Deputy Chief in Topeka, Kansas to serve as an Assistant Chief with the Lakeland Police Department.

 

Thomas said, “We really got the best of both worlds with Chief Giddens who has continually served this community unselfishly for over 30 years and Assistant Chief Kirk who will bring his 27 years of law enforcement experience to Lakeland.   I really don’t think it could have worked out any better. It is rare to have undergone a national search and be in a position to appoint two top leaders in the field of law enforcement to the benefit of Lakeland’s Police Department.  I want to thank the members of my Advisory Selection Committee for all their hard work in vetting the candidates and they are very supportive of the ability to appoint two of the three finalists to be part of Lakeland Police Department’s senior administrative leadership team.”  

 

Giddens started his career with the Lakeland Police Department as an auxiliary officer in 1984.  He was hired full-time in 1985 as a patrol officer on the Uniform Patrol Division.  He successfully excelled through the ranks serving on Special Weapons & Tactics, Street Crimes Unit, Hostage Negotiations, Special Investigations and Community Services. As Captain, Giddens was the Commanding Officer of the Uniform Patrol Division and he was named Assistant Chief of Police in 2011 overseeing the Neighborhood Services Bureau.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from St. Leo University, a Certified Public Manager, and attended the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) and a graduate of the 223rd Session of the FBI National Academy. Giddens has served as the Interim Chief of Police since February 2014.

 

Giddens said, “I am honored and humbled to serve my hometown community as the Chief of Police.  I have worked very hard to get to this stage and want to thank those that served on the Advisory Selection Committee and City Manager Doug Thomas for their hard work in this process.  I also want to thank my family for their undying support, as well as the members of the Police Department, associates from the City of Lakeland, our community leaders and the overwhelming number of citizens who have supported this agency throughout the process.” He added, “I moved into the Interim Chief of Police position with the intentions on improving relations with the media and the State Attorney’s office as well as solidifying strong partnerships with our fellow local, regional, state and federal law enforcement agencies.  I’m eager to bring my experience and skills to this position and with Tony Kirk joining our administrative team, we are going to continue to get better as an agency.”

 

Kirk started his career as a patrol officer and like Giddens, he has continually moved up within the Topeka Police Department.  Early in his career Kirk served as a Narcotics Officer, Community Police Officer and a Detective. In 2005, he was named Major over Criminal Investigations, then he moved to Special Operations and Field Operations before being named Deputy Chief of Police in 2012.  Kirk served as Interim Chief of Police from August 2014 to October 2014.  Kirk is also a Staff Sergeant with the Kansas Army National Guard, and holds both a Masters and Bachelor of Science from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas.  He is also a graduate of the 221st Session of the FBI National Academy.


Kirk said, “I am truly humbled and honored by the opportunity that City Manager Doug Thomas and Chief Giddens have afforded me. While certainly I was competing for the top job, the opportunity to join a first-class organization such as the Lakeland Police Department in this capacity was totally unexpected.” He added “I am excited and looking forward to working with the men and woman of the LPD. I’ve had in-depth conversations with Chief Giddens and Asst. Chief Mike Link. I am looking forward to working with these gentleman and the rest of the senior command staff as we carry the Lakeland Police Department into the future.  My family is very excited about this opportunity and looks forward to being a part of the Lakeland community.

 

Giddens appointment is effective immediately will make $145,000 per year and he is 52 years old and Kirk is expected to start with the Lakeland Police Department on or before March 15, 2015. He will be making $122,000 per year and is 49 years old.  


-END-

 


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


DETROIT TIGERS AND THE CITY OF LAKELAND REACH TERMS FOR SUCCESSOR AGREEMENT
LONGEST RUNNING SPRING TRAINING RELATIONSHIP IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL CONTINUES

LAKELAND, FL (July 18, 2014) -- The City of Lakeland and the Detroit Tigers have reached agreement on the terms and conditions that will be included in a contract that will extend the City’s relationship with the organization another 20 years.  The current contract signed in 2000 expires December 31, 2016.  The new contract will solidify the Detroit Tigers continuing their Spring Training, their Class A Minor League operations with the Flying Tigers and their rehabilitative program at Joker Marchant Stadium and the TigerTown Complex through 2036.

City Manager Doug Thomas said, “The parties approached the negotiations with a win-win attitude and I am very pleased that both the City and the Tigers were able to accomplish our respective desired outcomes.  We have developed a package that is cost effective for the City and continues to support the estimated $45 million in economic benefits associated with Spring Training and additional $18 million in economic impacts from the Flying Tigers to our community.  In return, the Tigers will be provided contemporary facilities designed to enhance player development and improve the fan experience so it will allow them to remain competitive with their counterparts in Major League Baseball. 

In anticipation of a new agreement, the parties have been involved in a process over the last two years that included tours of all the spring training facilities in Florida and Arizona to view best practice designs and to better understand the standards that are expected at current MLB facilities. The tours were followed up with a critical evaluation of the current configuration of Joker Marchant Stadium and the Tigertown Complex to identify the areas that would require improvements to allow the Tigers and the City to have facilities reflective of the market required for another 20 – 30 year contract period.  

“The Detroit Tigers are thrilled this new agreement will ensure the ball club will maintain its winter home in the City of Lakeland for an unprecedented 100 years,” said David Dombrowski, Tigers President, CEO and General Manager. “We are thankful and appreciative of the long-standing relationship with the City of Lakeland, Polk County and the State of Florida that in terms of years is second to none in all of Major League Baseball. 

The proposed design of the complex calls for separate Major and Minor League clubhouses that will be constructed; improved and realigned seating areas including additional shading; a 360 degree walk around layout to allow fans to be in constant view of the game; upgraded concession and new vending areas; expanded press box facilities in response to growing media interest with international players; a new artificial field surface in the minor league complex; new team cafeteria equipment; various improvements throughout the complex to assist in player development and rehabilitation; and overall improved layout and security features consistent with MLB security measures.

Melony Bell, Chair of the Polk County Tourist Development Council said, “Polk County has enjoyed a strong relationship with the Detroit Tigers for 78 years. With today’s announcement, we look forward to welcoming them back for another 20 years. According to the Florida Sports Foundation, the annual economic impact of the average Major League Baseball spring training operation in Florida is $47 million. We feel strongly that the Tigers have far more impact than that. Whether a Tigers fan chooses to come to Polk County for a month, or just drive to Lakeland for a day of baseball, all of our residents benefit from sales generated when these tourists are here.” 

R. Todd Danzler, Chairman of the Polk Board of County Commissioners said, “This announcement is great news for Polk County. We appreciate the Detroit Tigers’ long-term commitment to Lakeland. The Tigers bring more than just spring baseball to the county. Their presence through their minor league affiliate, the Lakeland Flying Tigers and other uses of the ballpark bring crowds to Joker Marchant Stadium year round. Undoubtedly, our hotels, rental homes, restaurants and other recreational facilities benefit during the spring season when the Tigers are in our community.”

Specifics of the agreement include the following terms: 

•       A total of $37 million will be available for capital improvements to the Joker Marchant Stadium and Tigertown Complex, to be completed and ready for occupancy by the Tigers in January 2017.  The City contemplates a bond issue for the capital costs that will be amortized from the following sources:

–      The State of Florida, through the Spring Training Retention Program will fund $1 million per year for 20 years.

–      The Polk County Tourist Development Council will fund an income stream capable of amortizing a total of $14,560,000, payable over 20 years, or 39.4% of project costs, with total project costs not to exceed $37 million.

–      The Tigers will provide funding through the payment of $530,000 per year to the City for 20 years, with such payments taking the form of rent, coupled with a management services fee, the latter of which includes CPI adjustments every five years.

–      The City will fund an estimated $190,000 per year for 20 years. 

Dombrowski said, “We believe the extensive enhancements to TigerTown will offer the loyal and passionate fans in Lakeland and the legions of Tigers fans that travel to Florida with a one-of-a-kind Spring Training experience. Lakeland plays a significant role year-round in the Tigers baseball operations and the planned renovations will provide the players with a state-of-the-art development and rehabilitation facility, certain to be amongst the best in all of baseball.”

Mayor Howard Wiggs said, “We truly appreciate the partnerships with the Detroit Tigers, the State of Florida, the Central Florida Tourist and Development Council, and the City Commission for their financial support for the successor agreement.  I would also like to thank our local legislative delegation, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, and local baseball supporters John and Becky Rodda, Robert Puterbaugh and others who helped the City in our efforts to amend the State's Spring Training Retention Bill which was a critical component in our negotiations.”

“Congratulations to the Detroit Tigers, the City of Lakeland and Polk County for extending the longest spring training relationship between a community and a Major League Baseball team," said Florida Sports Foundation President John Webb.  "This lease extension is a salute to the professionalism of all parties involved and the heritage and tradition both have enjoyed for almost eight decades.  This agreement will continue their partnership to over 100 years of a mutually beneficial relationship.  This unmatched partnership is a good example of Florida's strong sports industry and ensures Major League Baseball Spring Training will remain in the area for future generations to enjoy."

 

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On Tuesday, June 24th City Manager Doug Thomas filed official documents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement stating that former Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack left voluntarily in good standing.

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