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 (October 28, 2016) | The Lakeland Police Department is proud to announce that it has successfully obtained reaccreditation from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA). Chief Giddens and members of the department attended the quarterly CFA meeting in Weston on Wednesday, October 25, where they were presented with the official accreditation status. The designation will remain in effect for a period of three years.

In order to obtain the accreditation status, the Lakeland Police Department was required to demonstrate compliance with 54 mandatory standards. In addition to the mandatory standards, the Department also achieved compliance with 20 non-mandatory standards. Proof of compliance was determined by an assessment team, sent by the Commission, during an on-site review on July 13, 2016. During the visit, the team reviewed the department’s policies, procedures and practices.

“The Lakeland Police Department is an impressive agency that holds its members to the highest standards. It was apparent during the assessment that every member of the agency is proud of the work they do for the City,” wrote Sergeant Nicole Minick, Team Leader with CFA.

“As with our national CALEA® reaccreditation earlier this year, this designation from the CFA reaffirms the dedication and professionalism shown everyday by men and women who work to protect and serve the citizens of Lakeland,” said Chief Larry Giddens.

Media inquiries should be directed to (863) 583-2357.

Lakeland, FL (October 28, 2016) | The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) responded to a structure fire overnight at 1510 Ariana Street in the Woodbrook Mobile Home Park at approximately 4:15 AM. Neighbors called reporting a fire at the home as well as screams coming from inside the home from a possible victim.

Upon arrival LFD firefighters encountered the homeowner in the front yard of the home with injuries sustained from the event. Firefighters were able to control the fire quickly and provided protection to surrounding structures.

The homeowner sustained injuries due to the event that caused the fire and was the only person in the home at the time of the fire. Fire Investigators determined that the fire was caused due to smoking in bed. The homeowner fell asleep while smoking and using medical oxygen.

The homeowner’s injuries were determined to be serious enough to require helicopter transport to Tampa General Hospital for injuries to the airway. Lakeland Fire Department provided both the landing zone as well as medical care, along with Polk County Fire Rescue EMS.

This unfortunate event is a sobering reminder of the dangers of smoking while using medical oxygen. The Lakeland Fire Department recommends that individuals using medical oxygen never smoke. Additionally, for anyone that does smoke, they should never do so when groggy, tired, or sleepy as it can lead to a fire upon falling asleep; even if only for a moment. More information about Medical Oxygen and Smoking Safety can be found at the LFD website at

Apparatus that responded included: Engine 21, Engine 71, Engine 41, Truck 73, Rescue 22, Battalion Chief 1; landing zone established Battalion Chief 2 and Engine 12.



Janel Vasallo, Public Relations & Information Manager
Office: 863/834-8219 | Cell: (863) 860-9011 |

FDOT has advised us that they will be closing access to South Florida Avenue and Riggins Street on Monday, October 31, 2016. This closure is needed to repair an inlet that was damaged by a vehicle. Barricades are currently in place to warn drivers in the area. Residents will have access to Riggins Street from South Tennessee Avenue during the closure.

South Pipkin Road will be closed between Drane Field Road and Currymoore Road beginning Tuesday November 1, 2016 for two weeks. This closure is required to repair a failing storm sewer pipe. Detours will be clearly marked. 


Michael Whigham, Manager of Construction & Maintenance | 863/834-3300

Up-to-Date Road Info: 863/834-ROAD

LAKELAND, FL (October 21, 2016) - A grease blockage caused a manhole to fill up and weep approximately 350 gallons of raw wastewater around the cover at 95 Lake Hunter Drive. The incident was discovered at 12:58 p.m. and reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The potentially affected area does drain toward a storm drain that leads to Lake Hunter and the City of Lakeland is testing the water at Lake Hunter. The grease blockage was cleared at approximately 1:35 p.m.


Name of Reporting Party:
Richard Ruede

Installation Name: Lakeland Water Utilities

Installation Address:
1825 Glendale Street

Installation Location:
Lakeland, Florida

Contact person for further information: Robert Conner, Rick Ruede

Permit Number (if facility/installation holds a permit): FL0039772

Date and time of the incident or discovery: 12:58 PM, 21 October, 2016

Location of the incident or discovery: 95 Lake Hunter Drive

Suspected source and cause of incident or discovery: Grease blockage that cause manhole to fill up and weep around the cover.

Type of pollution, including substance or contaminant name(s): Raw Wastewater

Amount of pollution, including substance or contaminant name(s): 350 Gallons

Medium (e.g. land, water, air) affected by pollution: Water

Potentially affected areas beyond installation property boundary: Grassy area around manhole flowing towardsStorm Drain leading to Lake Hunter

Potential risk to the public health, safety, or welfare: People should refrain from swimming in the affected waters until testing can be completed. City of Lakeland will be doing the testing.

Identification of other parties notified of incident and time notification occurred: Catherine Lemonius – FDEP and Laurie Smith – COL Lakes and Stormwater via this e-mail

Any other information that may be helpful: Event terminated at 1:35 PM. City crews vactored out the manhole and cleared blockage. Area around site was washed down and the wash water vactored up as well. No property damage reported.