MAYOR GOW FIELDS STATEMENT
IN RESPONSE TO POLK COUNTY LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION LETTER
LAKELAND, FL (July 2, 2013) -- Our Polk County Legislative Delegation delivered a letter to City Hall late this afternoon that outlines their review of the recent State Attorney’s report regarding the sexual misconduct at the Lakeland Police Department. We too are just as shocked as our Polk County Delegation by the alleged misconduct and we have vowed to deliver deliberate action to those that have disgraced the LPD badge.
Within the letter presented by the Polk County Legislative Delegation, it was recommended to invite Sheriff Grady Judd to work with the City in making reforms at the Lakeland Police Department. The City of Lakeland has enjoyed our relationship with the Polk County Legislative Delegation as we have worked collaboratively for the betterment of our citizens.
The City of Lakeland has declared there will be action. Not only has Chief Womack addressed the public in Monday’s City Commission meeting, she met with the public during her regularly scheduled Chief’s Chat last night. During both of these public meetings, she made it very clear that the behavior outlined in the SAO report is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
I want to assure our community, the City Commission and all of our City employees that the Lakeland Police Department and the City Administration takes these matters very seriously and will take appropriate action once all the facts are known. When it first became known to Police Chief Womack in early March she immediately opened an internal investigation to review the allegations and then she called Florida Department of Law Enforcement to assist in the investigation.
I just spoke to Sheriff Grady Judd and he is supportive of our Internal Affairs investigative process. He did agree to make his agency available if we find it appropriate and necessary. Two officers and one civilian employee have already resigned in the wake of the internal investigation being conducted by the Lakeland Police Department.
The City Commission is apprised of the process now taking place with the internal investigation and we have full confidence that Chief Womack will take deliberate action once the investigation has been concluded.
We cherish our law enforcement partnerships, especially the bond that we have with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department. I know it is difficult, but we ask that our citizens be patient while the investigation continues. We promise to keep our citizens informed as the investigation unfolds and you have my word that those who are proven to have acted inappropriately will be disciplined to the fullest extent.
Mayor Gow Fields
Mayor | City of Lakeland