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Two Fatalities in Memorial Boulevard Accident

Two Fatalities in Memorial Boulevard Accident

The Lakeland Police department responded to a traffic accident with multiple injuries and two fatalities on August 7, 2016 at approximately 12:18 p.m. According to reports, Alexas A. Moore, age 20, was traveling westbound on US 92 West with passenger Armani T. Evans, age 22, in a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier. At the same time a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by Charles R. Harrelson, age 68, was traveling eastbound with two passengers; Rita E. Harrelson, age 67 and Blannie Denmark age 86. As the vehicles were approaching each other, the Chevrolet left its lane of travel, crossed over the raised concrete median and into the path of the Jeep. The Jeep impacted passenger side of the Chevrolet causing the car to flip and both the driver and passenger were ejected.

Alexas A. Moore, driver of the Chevrolet and Blannie Denmark, female rear passenger in the Jeep, were pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel. Armani Evans, Rita E. Harrelson and Charles Harrelson were all transported to Lakeland Regional Health as trauma alerts. Next of kin has been notified.

The roadway was closed for approximately at five and a half hours. At this time, no charges have been filed and the case is currently under investigation by the Traffic Homicide unit.

Chevrolet Cavalier Vehicle Occupants
Driver - Alexas A. Moore (Deceased)

Passenger - Armani T. Evans

Jeep Grand Cherokee Vehicle Occupants
Driver - Charles R. Harrelson

Front Passenger - Rita E. Harrelson

Rear Passenger - Blannie Denmark (Deceased)

Please keep the all of those involved and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Lakeland Police Department Retains Two National CALEA® Accreditations

Lakeland Police Department Retains Two National CALEA® Accreditations 

LAKELAND, FL (August 1, 2016) – The Lakeland Police Department is proud to announce that it has successful retained two national accreditations from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., (CALEA®).  On Saturday, July 30, 2016, Chief Larry Giddens and senior staff accepted the reaccreditations for department’s overall standards of performance and for their Public Safety Communications operation at the summer conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

To receive reaccreditation in the CALEA® Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation Program, the Lakeland Police Department had to comply with 484 internationally accepted standards for the operation of police organizations. The Advanced Program is a more rigorous process than the standard Accreditation Program which requires compliance with only 189 standards.  In April, a team of assessors from CALEA examined all aspects of the Department’s policy and procedures, operations, management and support services to verify they met the Commission’s state-of-the-art standards. The process holds the department accountable and sets the bar for excellence among law enforcement agencies. “The reaccreditation of the Lakeland Police Department 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.  

To receive the reaccreditation for Public Safety Communications, the 911 Emergency Communications team proved compliance with 211 internationally accepted standards. The achievement certifies that the department meets or exceeds benchmarks and professional requirements in critical incidents, special operations including Homeland Security, organization, training, recruitment and operations. 911 Communications Manager Bill LePere said “Any agency can claim their policies and procedures are among the best, but accredited agencies are willing to go through stringent review by outside assessors who evaluate entire operations to ensure adherence to industry best practices.

Both accreditation standards are valid for four years, at which time the department will again actively participate in a review process for reaccreditation.  For more information on accreditation, go to

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583.2357.

Police K9 Hyde Stabbed During Apprehension of Suspect

LAKELAND, FL (July 30, 2016) – The Lakeland Police department responded to a report of an aggravated assault at the Crestwood Hotel, 4360 Lakeland Park Drive, at 8:40 p.m. on Friday, July 29, 2016. Upon arrival, officers interviewed a female victim, Raquel Rios, that had been strangled with a dog leash. The suspect, Reuben B. Smith, age 42, had already fled the scene in a vehicle headed to Hillsborough County, armed with a knife.  Rios stated that Smith had asked her if she knew what it was like to be strangled. Rios ran to the bathroom and Smith forced his way in. Rios then stated that Smith proceeded to force his way onto her and wrap a leash around her neck and choke her until she lost consciousness and fell to the floor.

After Rios woke up, Smith escorted her to the bed and again wrapped a leash around her neck however Rios was able to escape and ran out of the hotel room. At this time, Smith left the scene in a white Buick, Regal.

At approximately 3:00 a.m. Smith had returned to Lakeland and was spotted driving eastbound on George Jenkins Boulevard. After seeing officers, Smith sped off and a vehicle pursuit began. During the pursuit, Smith intentionally drove off the roadway on Swindell Road at the Interstate 4 overpass. He rammed the barrier fence attempting to drive on to the interstate but disabled his vehicle upon hitting the ditch. Smith then fled on foot, running eastbound along the shoulder of the interstate for several hundred yards before ducking into a wooded area.

Canine Officer Jeremy Williams and his K-9 partner Hyde responded to the area and began tracking Smith.  Officer Williams briefly lost site of Hyde in the wooded area and attempted to call him back, but Hyde did not return. Moments later Officer Williams found Smith holding the canine down. Hyde had been stabbed twice by Smith, once in the left front leg and once in the left side chest. Both injuries required sutures (2 staples per wound) but appeared to be non-life threatening.  K-9 Hyde was released after treatment.

Smith continued to resist officers as he was placed into custody. Smith is charged with:

1.     Aggravated Assault

2.     Fleeing or Attempting to Elude

3.     Aggravate Assault with Deadly Weapon Without Intent to Kill

4.     Injuring/Killing a Police Dog

5.     Resisting an Officer with Violence

Smith was later transported to the Polk County Jail and at this no mug shot is available. Smith’s address is 1325 Redbud Street, Plant City, Fla.

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583.2357.

UPDATE:  Retail Theft Suspect Dies After Being Detained

Based on the investigation conducted by the Lakeland Police Department, State Attorney’s Office and Medical Examiner’s Office, the listed below individuals have been charged with Manslaughter (F2). Warrants for their arrest were signed on July 27th and they were all taken into custody on July 28th. The Medical Examiners findings were as follows:

Cause of Death: Mechanical Asphyxia

Due to: Restraint

The autopsy also revealed fifteen broken ribs on Wisham.


Charged with Manslaughter:

1.     Nathan Allen Higgins, 35 years old. – Support Manager – Walmart.

2.     Crucelis Nunez, 23 years old, Customer Service Manager – Walmart

3.     Randall Eugene Toko, 58 years old. Loss Prevention – Walmart

A copy of the affidavits and original police reports are attached.


Retail Theft Suspect Dies After Being Detained

LAKELAND, FL (February 9, 2016) - On February 7th at 3:05 a.m.  the Lakeland Police Department responded to Wal-Mart, 5800 N. Rd 98 in reference to a shoplifter in custody outside of the store. While enroute to the store, LPD officers received a second call from dispatch that the subject in custody was not breathing and CPR was in progress. The first responding officer began life saving measures to include using an Automated External Defibrillator and taking over CPR until EMS arrived. The suspect was transported to Lakeland Regional Health (LRH) in critical condition.

Further investigation by LPD revealed the suspect identified as, Kenneth E. Wisham, 64 yrs. old, entered Wal-Mart and took possession of DVD’s totaling $380.74. Wisham then attempted to exit Wal-Mart with the shopping cart of DVD’s when he was confronted by employees and took flight running south. During the chase, Wisham kept pulling his pants up because they were falling down and at some point; Wisham fell to the ground and was detained by employees. It was at this time, employees discovered Wisham had stopped breathing and they began life saving measures and called EMS.

On February 7th at 3:40 p.m., Wisham was pronounced deceased by a doctor at LRH and next-of-kin has been notified.  Detectives from the Violent Crimes Unit responded to Wal-Mart shortly after the incident to follow-up as per protocol on death investigations and to obtain sworn statements from the witnesses. The case is still ongoing at this time the cause of death has not been determined by the Medical Examiner at this time.

Deceased: Kenneth Edger Wisham, 64 yrs old, 5435 Lewellyn Rd #5, Lakeland, Fla

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583-2357.

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