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The latest happenings in your city government.


TONY KIRK WITHDRAWS APPLICATION AS ASSISTANT CHIEF WITH THE LAKELAND POLICE DEPARTMENT

There will be a press conference at the Lakeland Police Department (219 N. Massachusetts Avenue) in room 3A at 3 p.m

LAKELAND, FL (February 27, 2015) - The City is disappointed to inform the community that Tony Kirk has withdrawn his application as Assistant Chief of the Lakeland Police Department. Kirk was scheduled to start on Monday, March 2nd. Kirk communicated with Chief Giddens earlier this morning that he was withdrawing his application for Assistant Chief of Police effective at 10 a.m. on Friday, February 27th.

Background investigations for police officers are rigorous and Kirk went through a thorough background check for the Assistant Chief position. It was only during the final stages of the new hire process when inconsistencies involving Kirks’s application arose. Kirk explained that he inadvertently indicated that he had never tried marijuana on his internal new hire paperwork, however during the polygraph process he admitted to trying marijuana when he was 20 years old. The use of marijuana so many years ago would not prevent employment with the Lakeland Police Department. However the inconsistencies between the new hire forms and his later admissions regarding marijuana use triggered concerns.

City Manager Doug Thomas said, “This is a very unfortunate incident and we were looking very forward to Kirk joining our team but our law enforcement personnel are held to a high standard and as insignificant as it may sound, inaccuracies between his application and the polygraph process automatically disqualifies a candidate to move forward.” He added, “I wish we weren’t in this situation and I’m truly saddened for Tony and his family under the circumstances that we now find ourselves in.”

Larry Giddens, Chief of Police said, “I’m deeply disappointed that we came so far and this is an unfortunate conclusion to what I thought was going to be a very good addition to our team at the Lakeland Police Department.” He added, “The Lakeland Police Department is full of honorable men and women and we will continue to move forward in making this Department the very best it can be.”

 


Barricaded Gunman Killed in Standoff with LakelandPD - 
Another body found inside

The Lakeland Police Department responded to 2804 Kathryn Avenue in reference to a male subject inside stating that someone had committed suicide. The suspect had notified an ex in-law who in return called the police department. Officers arrived on the scene and observed a male subject through the front window that was armed with a rifle.

The officers were able to make contact with the suspect via a cell phone and begin a dialog at which time the suspect repeatedly made threats that he wanted law enforcement to shoot him. During the incident, the Lakeland Police Department SWAT team responded to assist. At approximately 11:00pm, the suspect was shot by several members of the SWAT Team after he approached them with the rifle. It is unknown at this time how many rounds were fired or how many officers fired their weapons.

The identity of the suspect is not being released at this time until we confirm his identity. Another unidentified body has been located inside the residence deceased. This investigation is ongoing and an update will be sent out within a few hours.

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583-2357.


CLICK IT OR TICKET SAFETY BELT ENFORCEMENT WAVE

The Lakeland Police Department wants to remind motorists to Click It or Ticket this holiday season. Each year, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times, millions of people will be traveling to visit with family and friends. What this means is that there will be more vehicles on the roads, and more danger as we travel. It is always important to buckle up, but when there are the additional vehicles on the roads, it is more important than ever. We want everyone to have a happy and safe holiday season; therefore the Lakeland Police Department will join with departments across the state in the Click It or Ticket Safety Belt Enforcement Wave. The enforcement runs from Monday, November 17, 2014 through Sunday, November 30, 2014 at midnight. 

Nationwide, seat belt usage is at an all-time high of 87 percent, but the Click It or Ticket campaign aims to reach that remaining 14 percent. In 2012, there were 10,335 unbuckled occupants killed in crashes—52 percent of all passenger vehicle occupants killed that year. At night, the numbers are even more disturbing. During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2012, law enforcement noted that 69 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed at night were unrestrained, as compared to 46 percent during the day. 

The single best thing anyone can do to protect themselves and save lives is to buckle up. It only takes a second!

For more information about traveling safely during Thanksgiving, please visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.




The Lakeland Police Department recently arrested Carl Stewart Jr., a known burglary suspect, and he has been directly linked to six residential burglaries.  On August 3rd, Stewart was arrested and he has been charged with burglary and grand theft. He has been charged with the following residential burglaries: 

         LPD Event #14-15691 – 2421 Cambridge Avenue (7/31/14)

         LPD Event #14-15814 – 620 Chatham Drive (8/1/14)

         LPD Event #14-15932 – 715 W Magnolia Street (8/3/14)

         LPD Event #14-15924 – 2608 Jonila Avenue (8/6/14)

         LPD Event #13-25175 – 2205 Fairmont Avenue (12/29/13)

         LPD Event #14-62 – 600 Easton Drive (1/2/14)

Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens said, “Stewart has an extensive criminal history and is well known by  departmental  members. By combining this knowledge and excellent teamwork exhibited by patrol, K-9, and our detectives Stewart was arrested and taken off our streets".  LPD asks that citizens keep their doors and windows locked in their homes and advise residents to not leave their garage door up when not in use.  Giddens said, “We ask citizens to be vigilant and if something doesn’t look right, then please call us so we can check it out.” 

There have been a number of car break-ins lately and the Lakeland Police Department would like to remind citizens to “Lock It, or Lose It”.  When cars are left unlocked, it provides an easy opportunity for a thief to burglarize property. The vast majority of vehicle burglaries reported to the Lakeland Police Department could be avoided if citizens would take an extra minute to make sure valuables are removed from vehicles, hidden from view or locked in the trunk. 

If you want more information on crimes that may be occurring in your neighborhood, you can go to the Lakeland Police Department website at www.lakelandgov.net/lpd and click on the RAIDSONLINE Crime Mapping tool.  Through this service, you can find information on crimes that are occurring in your neighborhood, or anywhere else in the city.