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The Lakeland Police Department sent a four man team and one alternate to the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) Patrol Dog National Field Trial in Springfield, Illinois. The competition was held from September 19th – 25th, 2015. There were six events that were judged; obedience, agility, evidence search, suspect search, apprehension without gunfire and with gunfire. These events simulate the different jobs the canine teams are called upon to perform while working in the field.

Officer Chad Whitaker and his K9 partner "Nox" won the trial by scoring an unprecedented 696.51 points out of a possible 700, making Chad and Nox's scores some of the highest on record. The Team was able to secure the second place Department four man team award as well. The four man team and alternate consisted of Sergeant Tye Thompson, Officer Jeff Barrett, Officer Ryan Back, Officer Cory Bowling and Officer Chad Whitaker. This is the third time the Lakeland Police Department has won 1st place at the USPCA Patrol Dog National Field Trial.


Officer Chad Whitaker - Top Dog- 1st place overall
2nd place Criminal Apprehension
3rd place Obedience
3rd place Agility
4th Total Search

They have most definitely kept with the highest standard of Pride and Loyalty, our K9 Unit motto, which has made the Lakeland Police Department’s K9 Unit the unit it is today.

The Lakeland Police Department is very proud of all the officers who represent our department not only in competitions, but day to day in their regular duties protecting our community. To become this proficient at their jobs at this level requires dedication and commitment to excellence.

Chiefs Chat

Monday, September 21, 2015

Lakeland Police Department’s next Chief’s Chat will be held on Monday, September 21st, from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm in the Community Room of the Lakeland Police Department located at 219 N Massachusetts Avenue.

On August 27, 2015 at 7:11 a.m., Officer Ace Williams observed a green Kawasaki motorcycle west bound on Parker Street passing on a double yellow line. Officer Williams turned around and caught up with the motorcycle at Parker Street and Massachusetts Avenue at a red light. As the motorcycle turned south on Massachusetts Avenue, Officer A. Williams attempted to stop the motorcycle turning on his emergency lights. At this point, the motorcycle fled at a high rate of speed and Ofc. A. Williams discontinued his attempts to stop the motorcycle and he acknowledged this on the police radio.

Approximately 2 minutes later, the Lakeland Police Department receives a 911 call of an accident at Sikes Blvd and W. Lime Street involving a green motorcycle and a Polk County School bus. This is a 4 way intersection which is controlled by a lighted traffic control device.  It was determined that the 2015 Kawasaki motorcycle was traveling south bound on Sikes Blvd. The 2014 School bus was in the left turn lane on W. Lime Street attempting to turn left (north) onto Sikes Blvd. The school bus began to turn left and while in the intersection, was hit by the Kawasaki motorcycle in the center. The driver of the school bus, Regina Elliott, was not injured and no children were on the bus at the time.

The driver of the motorcycle suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. He has been identified as; Niriel Cordero, 28 years of age, Lakeland, Florida.  Next-of-kin has been notified.  Cordero license is suspended and the preliminary investigation reveals speeding was a factor in the accident.  The investigation is still ongoing and is being investigated by a Traffic Homicide Investigator. 

On August 16, 2015, at 1:40pm, the Lakeland Police Department responded to a traffic crash at Harden Blvd and Beaker Blvd. James R. Birkhold, the driver of the 2014 Lexus ES 350 was eastbound on Beaker Blvd. Birkhold traveled into the intersection of Harden Blvd to make a left turn and was hit by a vehicle.


That vehicle, a 2009 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was driven by Kyle T Cooper, 24 years old. Cooper was traveling south on Harden Blvd in the left hand lane and hit Birkhold in the left side. Cooper was redirected off the roadway and into a ditch as a result of the collision. Cooper had his seat belt on and he is from Mulberry, Fla.


James Birkhold, 66 years old, was later pronounced deceased at the Lakeland Regional Health Medical Centerl. He was wearing a seat belt. Next-of-kin has been notified. Don Lindleg, 66 years old was a passenger in the vehicle. Lindleg is from Blythewood, South Carolina.


Morgan Thomas, 20 years old was a passenger in Coopers vehicle and was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Health Center. Thomas is from Mulberry.


The traffic investigation will be turned over to a Traffic Homicide Investigator for follow-up and at this time, no charges have been filed.


Deceased: James R. Birkhold, 66 years old, Lakeland, Fla.