City News Blog

rss

The latest happenings in your city government.


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


Critical Mass, a gathering of bicyclists and skateboarders, will take place Friday at Munn Park in Lakeland.

It is the first of what are planned to be regular rides held the final Friday of each month. Critical Mass, which originated in San Francisco and has spread to cities throughout the world, brings attention to cycling and other forms of transportation as alternatives to driving.

Participants will gather at 5:30 p.m. and begin their ride at 6 p.m. Helmets are recommended. Maps of the ride route will be shared before the ride begins.
*copy courtesy of @theledger


Lakeland’s Fire Chief Gary Ballard is New First Vice President
for the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association


On August 5, 2014 Chief Ballard was nominated and elected by his peers to become the First Vice President for the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association (FFCA). Having served as the West Central Regional Director and the Second Vice President for the FFCA over the past two years, Chief Ballard has the skills and knowledge to continue to lead within the organization. This new role will allow him to share his 37+ years of experience in an expanded capacity with fire service leaders from all over Florida as First Vice President.

This professional platform will allow Chief Ballard to showcase the excellent emergency services that the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) offers the people of Lakeland, as well as create additional networking opportunities that will add to the quality and scope of LFD’s services. It is also a wonderful opportunity to lend his leadership skills to help the fire service as a whole in Florida.

The FFCA is made up of fire and emergency professionals from all ranks representing all regions of Florida. The association’s mission is to promote and support excellence in fire & emergency services. The association does so by recognizing the fields best and brightest, offering scholarships, fundraising for charity, and providing professional development. With Chief Ballard in this new leadership position, he will undoubtedly continue to expand those efforts.

Congratulations and sincere thanks to Chief Ballard for increasing the City of Lakeland’s profile and presence throughout the state.




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.