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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-

 


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.




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.   

 


Public Nuisance Triplex Closed for 1 year



LAKELAND, FL  (August 18, 2014)  On August 20, 2014 at 10:00am, the Lakeland Police Department will be boarding up property located at 919 North Iowa Avenue, an apartment building consisting of three (3) apartment units (“triplex”). We will also be posting signage stating the triplex was closed as a public nuisance. This is the third location LPD has closed within 9 months and is the first triplex closed as a nuisance. The Lakeland Police Department continues to work towards improving personal safety for residents and landlords by keeping drugs and other illegal activity off their property. Several members of the Lakeland Police Department will be present to discuss the abatement process and answer questions.

 

The Lakeland Police Department had received numerous citizen complaints about drug activity at this location. Detectives using confidential sources purchased felony amounts of marijuana from apartment #2. On May 22nd, a search warrant was executed at apartment #2 and the following items were seized: approx. 17 grams of “crack” cocaine in 9 separate baggies, 58 grams of cannabis in 26 baggies, a mask, scales, loaded .380 caliber handgun, magazine and 9mm rounds and drug paraphernalia. Detectives were also able to determine that two individuals that left apartment #2 just prior to the search warrant were staying with the resident in apartment #1.

 

Detectives observed cannabis cigarettes on the window sill of apartment #3 and as a result obtained a search warrant that same day on May 22nd. The following items were seized: approx. 27 grams of “crack” cocaine in 2 separate baggies; 3 cannabis cigarettes, approx. 22 grams  of cannabis in a baggie; a 40 caliber handgun; and a 38 caliber round along with a box of .357 caliber rounds.

 

On May 23, a confidential source informed LPD that deliveries of controlled substances resumed at apartment #3 and this same day a confidential source purchased “crack cocaine and cannabis from an occupant inside of apartment #3.

 

On June 11, 2014, a second search warrant was obtained for apartment #3 and the following items seized: approx. 12.31 grams of “crack” cocaine, 52 grams of cannabis, and 4 pipes used to inhale cocaine.

 

In July, detectives recovered two additional firearms from a vehicle that had just left the parking lot of 919 North Iowa Avenue. Two individuals that were identified in the parking lot were staying with a resident in apartment #1. Detectives testified that the illegal controlled substance activities occurring on the property have involved all 3 units of the property including that the tenant residing in apartment unit #1 had direct knowledge of the illegal controlled substance activity occurring in units #2 and #3 of the property.

 

Lakeland Police Department General Counsel Roger Mallory presented an overview of the case to the to the Nuisance Abetment Board stating that it constitutes a “public nuisance”.

 

The Nuisance Abatement Boards findings were:

 

1. The entire Property, apartment #1, #2 and #3 has a reputation as a location where controlled substances are illegally possessed and can be illegally purchased.

2. The Boards finds that qualifying illegal controlled substances activity is inextricable intertwined with the entire property.

3. The Boards finds that a period of closure of the property for 1 year is necessary to discourage continued unlawful controlled substance activity on the Property and to abate the public nuisance.

 

 

Closure will take place:

August 20th, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

Location:  919 N. Iowa Avenue.

The doors and windows will be boarded up at that time as well

as a sign being posted in the front yard stating that property is closed as a drug nuisance.