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The Lakeland Police Department is pleased to announce the promotions of nine members of the department. Chief Larry Giddens announced the promotions and said “It’s a challenging time for law enforcement across the nation, but within those challenges lies great opportunity. These officers have dedicated themselves to this community and the law enforcement profession.  I am very proud of each of these officers and have every confidence in their abilities”. Chief Giddens along with the department’s command staff are dedicated to remaining responsive to the growing diversity of our community and are ensuring that with these promotions we continue to reflect the community we serve and protect.

The promotions will include two Hispanic males and one African American male.

The promotional ceremony will take place on July 10th at 3:00pm, at the First United Methodist Church, 72 Lake Morton Drive. The media and public are welcomed to attend.

The promotions are:

Assistant Chief Victor White

Victor White began his service with the Lakeland Police Department in 1983 after serving as a Military Policeman in the United States Army. He currently is the Commanding Officer of the Investigative Services Division. Victor has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Critical Incident Management from Saint Leo University. He is a Certified Public Manager through Florida State University. He is a graduate of the Drug Enforcement Administration Drug Unit Commander Academy (DUCA), the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy 239th session (FBINA), the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP), and the Federal Bureau of Investigations Florida Executive Development Seminar (FEDS).

Assistant Chief Ruben Garcia

He began his career at the Lakeland Police Department in 1987 after returning home from four years of honorable service in the United States Marine Corps. Ruben Garcia, will hold the distinction of being the first Hispanic officer to be appointed to the rank of Assistant Chief. He is currently assigned as the Commanding Officer of the Uniformed Patrol Division.  Ruben has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from St. Leo University and has completed the School of Police Staff and Command at Northwestern University, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Senior Leadership Program through Florida State University and the State of Florida Certified Public Manager Program and Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP). He is a certified criminal justice high liability instructor in both firearms and defensive tactics.

 

Captain Sammy Taylor

 

Sammy Taylor began his career with the Lakeland Police Department in 1989. He has served as a Lieutenant in the Uniform Patrol Division, Communications, as well as in his current position in the Criminal Investigations Division. Sammy graduated from Polk Community College in 1981 with an A.A. degree, and the University of South Florida in December 1993 with a B. A. in Criminal Justice. Sam received his Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Troy State University in December 0f 2002 with a concentration in national security issues. Sammy completed the Certified Public Manager course and received the CPM designation from Florida State University in 2009. He is a 2011 graduate of the Southern Police Institute (SPI) at the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY.

Captain Hans Lehman

 

Hans Lehman began his career at the Lakeland Police Department in 1996. His interest in law enforcement was first sparked in 1984 when he started at LPD as a Police Explorer at the age of 14.  He currently supervises the Community Services Section consisting of the Community Services Unit, Police Athletic League and School Resource Officers. He has Bachelor of Arts degree from Stetson University and a Master’s of Science from Troy University.  He has also attended police command schools, the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville and the Senior Management Institute for Police in Boston. Hans is a nationally certified Drug Recognition Expert/Instructor.

Lieutenant Brent Addison

Brent Addison began his career at the Lakeland Police Department in 1994. He has served on the S.W.A.T for 18 years and is currently the Sniper Team Leader.  Brent is currently assigned as a sergeant in the Uniform Patrol Division. He has an A.A. degree in Criminal Justice and is currently working g on his Bachelor’s degree.

Lieutenant Mark Melius

Mark Melius began his career at the Lakeland Police Department in 1990. He has worked numerous assignments throughout his career and most notably, his time as a detective working auto thefts where he was awarded Detective of the Year in 1999 and the Chiefs Award.  Mark is currently assigned as a sergeant in the Uniform Patrol Division. Mark has a Bachelor’s degree in Police Administration from Eastern Kentucky University.

Sergeant Brian Wallace

Brian Wallace began his career at the Lakeland Police Department in 2001 after serving three and one-half years with the Auburndale Police Department.  Brian has been assigned to the Criminal Investigations Section for 9 years were he garnered numerous awards. He is currently assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit working homicide cases.  Brian holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of South Florida.

Sergeant Jasper Yzaguirre

Jasper Yzaguirre began his career at the Lakeland Police Department in 1995 as a records clerk where he worked 2 years and then he transferred to communications as a police dispatcher for 5 years. In 2002, Jasper was hired as a police officer.  He is currently assigned to the Special Investigations Section working street level crimes, such as, prostitution and drug complaints.  Jasper is also a member of the S.W.A.T team and he has an Associate Science degree in Criminal Justice.

 Sergeant Joe Parker

Joe Parker began his career at the Lakeland Police Department in 2006. Joe served in the Army assigned to the 82d Airborne Division as an Infantry Paratrooper. Joe is a member of the S.W.A.T team and he is currently assigned to the Special Investigations Section working street level crimes, such as, prostitution and drug complaints.  Joe is working on his Associates degree.

 

 

 


 

The Lakeland Police Department arrested William McGee in reference to the Attempted Sexual Battery that occurred on May 19th at Lake Hollingsworth. The Special Victims Unit worked the case following up on numerous leads which lead to the identity of the suspect. Detectives were able to get DNA samples from items the suspect had touched and yesterday, LPD was notified by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that it was match to McGee.

Detectives located McGee early this morning and interviewed him at which time he confessed. He spoke to detectives at Lake Hollingsworth this morning about the attempted sexual battery. He has been charged with Kidnapping and Attempted Sexual battery. We appreciate all tips and help from the community in getting McGee off the street and in jail.


Update -  The man found in Lake Morton on June 17th has been positively identified as Belvin Gene Young, W/M, 58 years of age. The manner of his death was accidental and the cause was drowning, a medical examiner determined. There were no signs of trauma and no foul play is suspected. The next-of-kin has not been located as of today. Mr. Young was a transient with no permanent address. 

On June 17th at 11:58am, the Lakeland Police Department responded to 35 Lake Morton Drive to what appeared to be a body floating in Lake Morton. The witness observed what he first thought was a shoulder and upon closer examination, discovered it was a body. The Lakeland Fire Department responded and utilized their boat and a flotation device to get the body to shore.

The Violent Crimes Unit responded to investigate and a preliminary investigation reveals that the victim is a white male, approximately 50 to 60 years of age. The body was in a state of decomposition and bloated which indicated the victim had been in the water for an extended period of time. No obvious signs of foul play were observed. There was no identification on his person and he has not been identified at this time. The body was transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office and an autopsy is being performed at this time to determine the manner and cause of death. 


 

Scam Alert “Spoofing”

 

On June 11th, the victim stated she started receiving a series of phone called from a subject threatening to have a warrant issued for her arrest if she didn’t wire him money. The subject on the phone identified himself as Lakeland Police Officer Blake Williams and advised his badge number was #B26. The victim advised her phones caller ID showed “911” and (863) 834-6900 (Lakeland Police Department phone number) on several occasions, which made her believe the scam, was true.  The subject on the phone asked for $1800 to be wired. The victim advised him she could only send $500 and then she sent the Money Gram for $500. The victim advised she talked with a family member shortly thereafter and was informed it was a scam. Victim attempted to have the transfer stopped but at this time it’s unknown if the money transfer went through. 

 

Detectives spoke with the victim and are investigating this incident. It’s unknown where these calls are originating from or who’s making them at this time.  It appears the caller is using a device to make it seem like the calls are originating from the Lakeland Police Department which is called Spoofing.  If you believe you have been a victim of “Spoofing”, notify your local law enforcement agency.

 

 The Caller ID Scam

Public telephone networks often provide Caller ID information, which includes the caller's name and number, with each call. However, some technologies (especially in Voice over IP (VoIP) networks) allow callers to forge Caller ID information and present false names and numbers. Gateways between networks that allow such spoofing and other public networks then forward that false information. The caller is able to masquerade as someone else by falsifying the number that appears on the recipient's caller ID display.

 

What can you do to protect yourself against Caller ID Spoofing?

Don’t place all your trust in the Caller ID information presented to you.

Never give credit card information out to someone who has called you.

Don’t conduct any business over the phone if you did not initiate the call.

Get a call back number and call back if you are interested in a product or service.

Use Google to reverse lookup their phone number and see if it is associated with a known scam.

Don’t answer the phone if you don't recognize the name of the caller or if the caller ID says the number is blocked.

For additional tips and information, visit the FCC site at https://www.fcc.gov/guides/caller-id-and-spoofing