City News Blog


This is the official blog of the City of Lakeland, Florida. Check back frequently to stay up to date with all that going on in our beautiful city!

LAKELAND, FL (September 7, 2016) On September 5th at 1:14 a.m., members of the Uniform Patrol Division responded to Max Jewelers, 1553 Town Center Drive, in reference to an alarm activation. Officers discovered that unknown subjects shattered the front glass window and the front door. The jewelry case inside the store on the northeast side, was shattered and appeared to have jewelry items removed from it.

Miscellaneous rings, bracelets and other assorted jewelry items were missing according to a store representative, Abdullah Madi. A store surveillance tape revealed three black male subjects making a force entry into the business. 

At approximately 2:54 a.m. that same morning, Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy Bolin spotted a stolen vehicle traveling southbound on Highway 27. The vehicle, a 2008 GMC Sierra pickup, had been reported stolen out of Winter Haven on September 4th.  The Haines City Police Department assisted and a short pursuit ensued. A deputy initiated a precision immobilization technique (PIT) to stop the vehicle. The vehicle crashed in a ditch on Highway 27 at 915 Roberts Road, Lake Hamilton. The passenger was immediately apprehended.  The driver fled on foot and was observed jumping a fence at a business. Haines City Police Department K-9 located and apprehended the driver.

During the course of this investigation, it was discovered that both subjects were in possession of a backpack containing jewelry from Max Jewelers. 

Driver has been identified as: Christopher Dwayne Lewis, 17 years old of 1700 2nd Street NW, Winter Haven. Lewis has been charged with Burglary to an Unoccupied Structure, Grand Theft and Possession of Burglary Tools.

Passenger has been identified as Jovan Tavarus Washington, 15 years of age of 1700 2nd Street NW, Winter Haven. Washington has been charged with Burglary to an Unoccupied Structure and Grand Theft. 

Detectives have identified the third subject involved and additional charges may be forthcoming pending further investigation. The name of the third subject is not being released at this time. Detectives are continuing to investigate this case working with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Winter Haven and Haines City Police Department. For additional information on the stolen vehicle, apprehension and additional charges, please contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Haines City Police Department.

Lakeland, FL (September 7, 2016)- The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) and the Lakeland Police Department (LPD) are excited to present a new “Keep 911 for Emergencies” public safety campaign. The campaign features four public service announcements and related print materials aimed at reminding the community that 911 is for emergencies only and that it should be used responsibly. 

Both LFD and LPD receive a high number of calls for service (22,515 and 108,657, respectively, in 2015). These calls are managed by the Lakeland Public Safety 911 Communications Center, which dispatched 131,172 calls for service last year.

The Lakeland Fire Department and the Lakeland Police Department joined forces to address these issues of mutual concern in hopes of improving response with their current resources while in the process helping make Lakeland a safer community; a priority for both agencies. 

The Lakeland Public Safety 911 Communications Center was consulted when developing this campaign to identify the most common examples of 911 misuse. In Lakeland’s case the leading issues in 911 misuse were: accidental dialing from cell phones by both unknowing adults or children on mobile devices; non-emergency medical calls; and parents calling 911 to threaten disobedient children. Individual public service announcements were created for each of these issues.

The public service announcements are available at:

Lakeland Fire Department | YouTube | Facebook

Lakeland Police Department | YouTube | Facebook

The PSAs may also be downloaded for redistribution at . They will also be shown on the City of Lakeland’s Public Access Channel, LGN.

Everyone is encouraged to share these messages to promote responsible 911 use. 

For interviews, filming, and more information please contact:

Janel Vasallo

Office: (863) 834-8219 | | Lakeland Fire Department

Robin Tillett

Office: (863) 834-2963 | | Lakeland Police Department


[9/2/2016, 11:30 AM] From Polk County Emergency Management:

Tropical Storm Hermine (now downgraded from hurricane status) will move across Georgia and toward South Carolina into this afternoon.  A trailing outer rain band will move across Central Florida through the afternoon.  Expect wind gusts, occasional lightning strikes, and heavy downpours in passing squalls.

Power Outages?

Are you experiencing electric outages (but still able to access the internet via your smartphone)? This map shows the current outages in the 258-square-mile Lakeland Electric service area.  To see more details about an outage, click on the red icon associated with that outage.


Polk County Fire Rescue is offering sandbag fill locations throughout Polk County from 8 am to 8 pm at these fill sites.

You may download the Sandbag Information document on where to place sandbags from Polk County Emergency Management here.

Polk County Public Schools Update

Public schools and district offices in Polk County are scheduled to operate as normal on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. All outdoor sports (including JV football) and outdoor activities scheduled will be operating on-schedule, as of 11:30 am, 9/2.

If any decision is made to close schools due to severe weather conditions, Polk County Public Schools will communicate using the automated telephone calling system for parents and guardians, as well as the district's website and social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter). Local media will also be notified.

Helpful Links


Tropical Depression 9 Has Been Upgraded to Tropical Storm Hermine

[9/1/2016, 8:30 AM] From Polk County Emergency Management:


Tropical Storm Hermine is identified in the attached imagery –NASA IR GULF- with a yellow circle) The center of Tropical Storm Hermine was located near latitude 26.4 North, longitude 86.6 West. Hermine is moving toward the north-northeast near 12 mph, and this motion with a slight increase in forward speed is expected during the next day or so. On the forecast track, the center of Hermine will be near the Florida coast in the warning area tonight or early Friday.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 60 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is anticipated, and Hermine is expected to be a hurricane by the time landfall occurs. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles to the east of the center. The estimated minimum central pressure from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane was 996 mb.

[8/31/2016, 3:30 PM] From Polk County Emergency Management:

The system has strengthened into a tropical storm.  The center of Tropical Storm Hermine was located near latitude 24.7 North, longitude 88.0 West. Hermine appears to be drifting northward near 2 mph.

A north-northeastward motion is expected later today, and a turn toward the northeast with increasing forward speed is expected on Thursday. On the forecast track, the center of Hermine will approach the northwest Florida coast in the warning area on Thursday afternoon.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 40 mph with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next day or two, and Hermine could be near hurricane strength by the time landfall occurs. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles mainly to the southeast of the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1000 mb.

[8/30/2016] From Polk County Emergency Management: Significant rainfall is expected in Polk County as Tropical Depression No. 9 nears Florida's west coast in the coming days. Portions of the county will receive 4 to 6 inches of rain, while the eastern portions of the county are expected to receive slightly lower amounts in the 2- to 4-inch range during the coming days as the storm approaches and crosses the state.

The center of Tropical Depression Nine was located near latitude 24.0 North, longitude 87.2 West. The depression is moving toward the west-northwest near 7 mph. A turn toward the northwest is expected later today, followed by a turn toward the north-northwest tonight.

A turn toward the north-northeast is expected on Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of the depression will continue to move slowly away from western Cuba, and move over the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the next 48 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm today. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1004 mb. Polk County Emergency Management EOC will continually monitor the progress of TD 9 and will notify of changes, if necessary.

LAKELAND, FL (August 26, 2016) - The City of Lakeland will be starting a shoreline stabilization and restoration project with construction beginning September 12th on the south side of Lake Hollingsworth in the vicinity of the public access boat ramp.  The project is expected to be completed by January 31, 2017.  The public access boat ramp and parking lot will remain open during the project. 

The shoreline in this location has experienced significant erosion and destabilization over recent years contributing to the measurable loss of shoreline area, exposure of tree root systems and subsequent loss of several trees.   

Laurie Smith, Manager of Lakes & Stormwater said, “If left unabated, additional erosion and loss of shoreline would continue.  We will be installing a low profile sea wall constructed of Truline brand hybrid recycled materials specially designed to stabilize the shoreline and prevent additional erosion.” 

Three sets of concrete steps will be set into the seawall for access to the lake.  The City of Lakeland Lakes & Stormwater Division met with several user groups in researching shoreline stabilization solutions.  Custom Built Marine of Port St. Lucie, FL was awarded the contract for the seawall installation project at a cost of $192,000.