LPD News Blog


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LPD PIO's Blog

Mr. Woodruff was reported missing by his sister to the Lakeland Police Department on February 12, 2015. He was last seen on February 2, at the Relax Inn at 1433 Lakeland Hills Blvd. At the time, he was wearing a button up shirt, blue jeans and a zip up jacket (unk color). Woodruff has blue eyes, gray hair and is bald.

Woodruff has PTSD and schizophrenia and he refuses to take his medication. If Woodruff is confronted by anyone, he may become violent. If anyone knows his whereabouts, call the Lakeland Police Department at 863-834-6900. 

On February 10, at 7:50 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to a crash at S.R. 33 (HWY 33 N) at the intersection of Combee Road. The intersection is controlled by flashing traffic signals and posted signs. A vehicle driven by John M Zelle was northbound on S.R. 33. A vehicle driven by Clara C. Barber was westbound on Combee Road and turned in front of the vehicle driven by Zelle. It appeared to investigators that Barber was trying to make a left turn to head southbound on SR 33 when she proceeded into the path of Zelle who was driving a mini-van.

The collision resulted in the death of the right front passenger in Barbers vehicle. The deceased has been identified as Ricky Osborn Barber and he was pronounced deceased on the scene by a Lakeland Fire Department Paramedic. Next-of-kin has been notified. Ricky Barber did not have his seat belt on at the time of the traffic crash. The driver, Clara Barber was transported to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC) to be treated. Her condition is unknown at this time.

The driver of the mini-van, John Zelle was transported to LRMC for non-life threating injuries. A passenger in his vehicle, Eddy Fernandez sustained minor injuries and was treated at LRMC and later released.  

No charges have been filed and this crash is still under investigation.

Vehicle #1 – 2013 Dodge Avenger, 4door. Driven by Clara C. Barber 

Deceased – Ricky O. Barber 

Vehicle #2 – 1997 Chrysler Mini-van, driven by John M. Zella 

Passenger in Vehicle #2 – Eddy E. Fernandez 


On Monday, December 29, 2014, at 11:12 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to 1935 Crystal Grove Drive #53 to assist PCEMS call of a child not breathing. The baby, Princeton Graham, 5 months old, was in the custodial care of his biological father, Robert Graham and Graham’s girlfriend.


Graham was in apartment #61, babysitting other children and his baby. Graham advised he was attempting to feed the baby formula and the baby began to choke. Graham said he turned the baby over and administered several back blows to the baby’s back to stop it from choking. Graham then took the baby to apartment #53 were the resident there called 911.


On December 31, the baby, Princeton Graham, succumbed to his injuries at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida.


On January 2nd, an autopsy was performed and the findings of the medical examiner were that Princeton Graham died as a result of “Shaken Baby” caused by blunt force head trauma from assault.


Detectives stated that the father had admitted to overly rough playing with the baby on December 28th by slamming the baby on the bed, bouncing it on his knee and shaking the baby for about four minutes.


The father, Robert Graham knowingly and willfully abused the baby which resulted in his death. He was arrested on January 8th, without incident at his residence and charged with Aggravated Child Abuse, F1 and Manslaughter, F2.


Arrested: Robert Donte Graham, DOB 11/3/91, 8128 Simpson Lane, Lakeland, Fla.

This year the men and women of the Lakeland Police Department will celebrate and honor 130 years of law enforcement service to the citizens of Lakeland. It all began in 1885 when George F. Newell was elected as the first City Marshal. At the time he was the only law enforcement officer and the Tax Collector. 

Today there are over 350 sworn and civilian LPD team members working hard every day to keep our city safe and secure.  In commemoration of the 130th anniversary of the Lakeland Police Department, and to honor our fallen members that sacrificed their lives in the performance of duty, a special purpose badge was custom designed exclusively for LPD. The badges made at no cost to LPD and department members were able to self-purchase them if they chose so.  Chief Giddens has approved for
the badge to be worn by Sworn, PSA, and Chaplain members from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015.  Non-sworn employees and retirees are also eligible to purchase coins and lapel pins and badges with some restrictions.