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The latest happenings in your city government.


Lakeland Police Department Hosting FREE Active Shooter Awareness Seminar

The Lakeland Police Department will conduct an active shooter awareness seminar for Lakeland businesses, schools and organizations on August 26 at 10 a.m. 

Learn how you can best prepare, prevent and react to an active shooter scenario. This seminar is FREE, but pre-registration is required. Seminar participants must have a primary location within Lakeland city limits.

There is no charge to attend, but participants must register using the "register" link below. Photo ID and employment credentials (business card, employee badge) will be required at check-in, beginning at 9 a.m.

For registrations of more than 10 people from the same organization/company, please call (863) 688-8551 Ext. 229 for Amy.
- See more and register at: http://www.lakelandchamber.com/events/eventdetail.aspx?EventID=2294#sthash.hSQkVP3d.dpuf


NEIGHBORHOOD OUTREACH – 7TH STREET PARK

NEIGHBORHOOD OUTREACH – 7TH STREET PARK

LAKELAND, FL (June 18, 2014) - On Saturday, June 21st from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. the City of Lakeland will join volunteers from a variety of organizations and churches to hold a community outreach event at 7th Street Park (1500 W. 7th Street, Lakeland FL 33805). 

Commissioner Phillip Walker, “This is an area that has recently experienced a number of gang involved shootings and the events is part of our Refuse to Lose anti-gang initiative as we work together to address this problem and keep our fingers on the pulse of this whole issue.  We will work with our faith based partners, the Polk County School Board, area law enforcement agencies and concerned citizens as we continue to move forward.”  He added, “We must all work together and let those know that we will not tolerate this behavior and we will use our resources to seek the maximum penalty allowed for those involved in gang activity." 

The outreach event will include neighborhood cleanup with volunteers stopping by every residence in the area with gift bags of food inviting them to the focal event at 7th Street Park.  Activities in the park will include:

·      Bounce Houses

·      Sports Camp hosted by Simpson Park

·      Kids Club hosted by Dream Center

·      Face Painting hosted by Southeastern University

·      Grilled Hotdogs hosted by Lakeland Fire Department

Pastor Mike Cooper from the Dream Center said, “We spend a great deal of time in these neighborhoods and this outreach event is just one way that we as a community can show support for residents and let them know that we care.  We will be assisting those in the neighborhood by cutting their grass, doing clean-up activities and we have a fun day planned at the park. 

Parking is available at 1121 Atlantic Road and/or 1430 Atline Road.

For additional information contact the Dream Center at 863-413-0088 or email shill@dreamcenterlakeland.org.


LAKELAND POLICE DEPARTMENT PARTNERS WITH THE LEDGER TO SOLVE COLD CASE CRIMES

LAKELAND POLICE DEPARTMENT PARTNERS WITH THE LEDGER

TO SOLVE COLD CASE CRIMES

 

 

LAKELAND, FL (May 28, 2014) - The City of Lakeland Police Department is teaming up with The Ledger to present information to the community regarding 40 unsolved cold cases that they are trying to solve.  Lakeland Police Department Chief Larry Giddens said, “Some of these crimes go back decades and we are pleased to be working with The Ledger to help solve these cases.” He added, “Perhaps we can get a lead or as we share information, someone will remember a detail that will be just the spark that we need to close a case.”

 

The Ledger will be publishing a three-part series on the City’s cold cases and unsolved murders. The series will run Sunday through Tuesday but will continue for months as The Ledger profiles some of the more interesting cases every other week.

 

Lenore Devore, Editor for The Ledger said, “The goal is to bring the community together to solve some of the cases. It’s easy to criticize law enforcement for not solving crimes and it’s much harder when you realize that people with key evidence won’t cooperate. That’s what LPD says it faced for a long time – a community often unwilling to get involved.”  She added “We hop that publicizing the information will make the community more aware and someone will step forward with a key piece of information.”

 

“In the past few months, community involvement has combined with excellent detective work to solve several homicides and shootings quickly,” said Assistant Chief Mike Link. “Things have gotten better and people are calling in tips, whether anonymous or not and that’s a step in the right direction."

 

Law enforcement officials often dedicate years of service to solve murders, battling frustration, fatigue and at times depression trying to clear just one crime. They deal with family members who range from understanding to inconsolable to very angry because of the many questions that are still left unanswered.  Who did it? Why? Was the victim the target or an innocent bystander? Why isn’t there a conviction? Why hasn’t justice been served?

 

The series, titled “It Takes a Community to Solve a Murder,” culminates with a community forum from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on June 5th in the City Commission chambers at Lakeland City Hall, 228 S. Massachusetts Ave.

During the forum, citizens will hear from:

·      Assistant Police Chief Link

·      Cold case supervisor Jeff Birdwell

·      Detective Brad Grice

·      Brian Haas, spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office

·      Local psychologist and Ledger columnist Dr. Berney Wilkinson

·      The Rev. Arthur Johnson

·      The mother of a slain man, Linda Cook Thames 

 

Each panelist will bring their own perspective to dealing with unsolved murders and cold cases, from why some cases cannot be solved quickly to the toll cases take on families and detectives to the efforts made to raise community awareness.

 

This is a chance for the community to get involved in the conversation and to show your support for the Lakeland Police Department. Join us June 5th to hear from our esteemed panelists. If you have a question you’d like answered during the forum, please send it to coldcases@theledger.com; the best questions will be asked at the forum.  


The Lakeland Police Department has a tips hotline that is available for community members to report crime information/criminal activity 24-hours a day, 365 days per year. To access the hotline you can contact 863/834-2549, or e-mail us at tips@lakelandgov.net To report information on a cold case file, contact Lakeland Police through e-mail at coldcasetips@lakelandgov.net


Information is accepted anonymously, or the caller may leave information to be contacted by an investigator. All information regarding reporting persons is held in strict confidence, and shall not be divulged to any party. Remember, it takes a community to solve a murder!

-END-


 


Lakeland Police Officers Ride 250 Miles in Honor of Fallen Comrades

 

 

Two officers with the Lakeland Police Department are gearing up to participate in the 2014 Police Unity Tour. On May 9th, Lieutenant Mike Moran, a 23-year veteran and Sergeant Mike Lewis, a 14-year veteran, will once again set out on a bike ride that will span three days and 250 miles from Portsmouth, VA to Washington, DC. The annual event’s primary purpose is to raise awareness of Law Enforcement Officers who have died in the line of duty. The tour also raises funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum in Washington, D.C.  This year’s ride will be the 3rd for Lt. Moran and the 2nd for Sgt. Lewis. The pair of riders have been training all year for the ride.


“I am an avid cyclist and also passionate about law enforcement and recognizing the officers that have given their lives for this career,” said Lewis.

Close to their minds and hearts will be fallen officers. Lt. Moran will be riding in memory of Master Deputy Shane Robbins, from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.  The 15-year veteran died in the line of duty on April 26, 2013 when he was involved in a single-vehicle crash.  Sgt. Lewis will be riding to honor the memory of Officer Michael Crain, an 11-year veteran of the Riverside Police Department in California.  Officer Crain was shot and killed in the line of duty after being ambushed at a red light on February 3, 2013. Both Moran and Lewis will wear a metal bracelet with the fallen officer’s name engraved in it. Once arriving at the memorial site, they will present the family members with the bracelets.  

“When you ride into the police memorial in Washington, DC and see the faces of the family that you are riding for, it’s heart wrenching,” said Moran.  “But it’s also amazing when you get to meet the family and see how thankful they are for us remembering their loved one. It’s one of the most gratifying things I’ve done in my life.”

Both will also wear a small memento in honor of their own fallen comrade, Officer Arnulfo Crispin. Crispin was shot in the line of duty on December 18, 2011 and succumbed to his injuries three days later.  “The reason I joined the tour in 2012 was to honor the memory of Arnie,” said Moran. Officer Crispin’s family will be there in Washington to greet Moran, Lewis and the other riders participating in the tour.

Riders in the Unity Tours are either police officers or family members of fallen officers. Officer Lewis shared a memory from his first Unity Tour where a woman who was riding in memory of her husband. The woman began to struggle after about 70 miles into the ride. He watched as another officer whom she had never met put his hand on her back and pushed her for the next 40 miles so that she would not be dropped from the ride. “Riding a bike for 110 miles is impressive, but to push another rider for that distance was simply amazing to witness and truly in the spirit of the tour,” said Lewis.

Started in 1997 with only 18 riders, the event has grown to include over 1,700 riders from all over the United States. In total the event has raised almost $14 million for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.  Each year the ride culminates at during National Police Memorial week in Washington, DC.  Riders all converge at the same time at the National Law Enforcement memorial where thousands of family members of fallen officers and law enforcement supporters are waiting.

For each officer to participate they must raise $2,000.  Half of the money covers the expenses of the ride and the other half goes directly to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund.  If you would like to support these two officers, you can make a donation through their fundraising websites.

Sgt. Lewis’ fundraising website:  http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/MLewis/2014

 

Lt. Moran’s fundraising website:  https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/moranpoliceunitytour/2014