Lakeland PD Chief in hot seat with city commission over scandals - WFLA News Channel 8

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share

Lakeland PD Chief in hot seat with city commission over scandals

Posted: Updated:
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

The Lakeland Police Department has been under fire for weeks for embarrassing scandals. Chief Lisa Womack tried to assure the city's commission Monday that she has things under control.

Womack said it's not all her fault because many of the problems began long before she became chief two years ago.

6/26/2013 Related Story: Lakeland Police Department sex investigation

"Regardless of when it started, it is discovered under my watch, and it is my responsibility to make sure that we respond appropriately," Womack told commissioners. "Never doubt that I have any reason to do anything but that."

6/28/2013 Related Story: Lakeland police officer has lengthy disciplinary file

Womack said the department was a mess when she took over. There was no formal training program, not enough accountability for excessive force, and disorganized discipline procedures. She said she's made positive changes and was disgusted to discover as many as 10 officers, including top brass, admitted to having sex on duty. The civilian employee at the center of the sex investigation says some of those encounters were forced.

"I'm struggling for an explanation just like everyone else. I'm appalled by those who chose to engage in this behavior. and I am equally appalled by those who knew about it and didn't come forward."

The sex scandal isn't the only problem at the police department. First, 8-on-your-side discovered problems with officer testimony during DUI trials. An officer said he had fellow officers notarize blank documents and fill in the details later.

6/20/2013 Related Story: FL investigates Lakeland police DUI procedures

Then, dash-cam video showed a police officer making a woman shake out her bra, as he looked for drugs. 8-on-your-side found another officer did the same thing.  At an evening "Chief's chat" session with a standing-room only crowd, Chief Womack said the type of search conducted by the officers is not standard.  "This is not a technique we teach. So how it has become something that may be used by officers is another thing that we're looking at" she said. 

Some people at the evening meeting expressed suspicions about dealing with Lakeland officers.  One woman said she would feel nervous getting pulled over.  But Chief Womack assured her, training is already in place to make sure bra shaking does not happen again.

6/20/2013 Related Story: Officials question Lakeland bra-shaking police search

Womack also assured the commission that none of this will be tolerated.

6/28/2013 Related Story: Lakeland Police officers react to scandals

"This bell cannot be unrung, but I can certainly make sure that those that have dishonored the Lakeland Police badge and uniform will no longer be Lakeland Police Officers."

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:03:34 GMT
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
  • Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:15 AM EDT2014-08-29 11:15:46 GMT
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
  • NewsMore>>

  • Two men injured in Gandy Bridge boat crash

    Two men injured in Gandy Bridge boat crash

    Saturday, August 30 2014 11:36 PM EDT2014-08-31 03:36:15 GMT
    Two men were injured in a single boat crash at the Gandy Bridge in Pinellas County Saturday. A 21-foot white Hydra-Sport boat collided with the Gandy Bridge, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Officer Baryl Martin said in a news release. ...
    Two men were injured in a single boat crash at the Gandy Bridge in Pinellas County Saturday. A 21-foot white Hydra-Sport boat collided with the Gandy Bridge, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Officer Baryl Martin said in a news release. ...
  • Down power line stalls Gulf Blvd. traffic

    Down power line stalls Gulf Blvd. traffic

    Saturday, August 30 2014 8:49 PM EDT2014-08-31 00:49:01 GMT
    Severe weather in Redington Beach has forced the shutdown of a portion of Gulf Blvd.Pinellas County authorities closed northbound and southbound Gulf Blvd. from 161st Ave. to 164th Ave. due to down power lines.Sheriffs's officials are asking motorists to avoid the area.
    Severe weather in Redington Beach has forced the shutdown of a portion of Gulf Blvd.Pinellas County authorities closed northbound and southbound Gulf Blvd. from 161st Ave. to 164th Ave. due to down power lines.Sheriffs's officials are asking motorists to avoid the area.
  • Buccaneers get to 53-man roster limit

    Buccaneers get to 53-man roster limit

    Saturday, August 30 2014 8:08 PM EDT2014-08-31 00:08:37 GMT
    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 53-man roster now is in place. On Saturday, the team waived six players and released two others to reach the NFL player limit. The Bucs made the following roster moves today, according to team officials. ...
    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 53-man roster now is in place. On Saturday, the team waived six players and released two others to reach the NFL player limit. The Bucs made the following roster moves today, according to team officials. ...
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.