Polk legislators want stronger message after LPD scandals - WFLA News Channel 8

Polk legislators want stronger message after LPD scandals

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LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

Polk County legislators say city and police officials need to send a stronger message to the community that they are dealing with the scandals at the Lakeland Police Department.

"The public is losing confidence in our police officers," said State Senator Kelli Stargel. "People are losing respect, and that's a dangerous place to be."

The Polk County delegation sent a letter Tuesday evening to the mayor's office suggesting that they bring in Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd to act as a consultant with the Lakeland Police Department.

Stargel said she's concerned about the recent sex scandal but more concerned about the culture of LPD and recent 8 On Your Side reports about officers falsifying documents and giving problematic testimony in DUI cases.

"To send the message that we're going to get all the facts and then we're going to act," Stargel said. "To me, that's not the right message. I think that we need to restore the public confidence right now so that if I get pulled over by a police officer right now, I know it's not one of those police officers who may have been involved in one of these scandals."

State Representative Neil Combee followed up Wednesday with a letter to Mayor Gow Fields. Combee wrote:

"I personally want to emphasize that I've lost confidence not just in LPD leadership but in Lakeland leadership as a whole. Hints of these problems have existed for years," Combee wrote.

Womack was scheduled to speak at the Republican Club of Lakeland Wednesday. But Tuesday night, she canceled.

Lincoln Jacobs says he supports the chief and was hoping to hear from her at the meeting. He said he had hoped her speech would help restore his confidence.

"Everybody in the community is frustrated that officers have admitted to doing wrong and they are still on the payroll," he said.  

Related story:  07/02/2013 State leader wants Judd involved with Lakeland PD investigation

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