Lakeland Police hope for re-accreditation despite scandals - WFLA News Channel 8

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Lakeland Police hope for re-accreditation despite scandals

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The Lakeland Police Department is hoping to earn it's re-accreditation despite a recent slew of scandals that have blemished the department's public perception.
 
This week, the department is playing host to a team of state assessors. The three member team from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) spent the day at department headquarters in downtown Lakeland. This is a paperless assessment which means assessors are reviewing virtual records, processes and procedures.

"That's what accreditation does. It shows that we are handling our business the right way," explained Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack.

"We are showing that in spite of issues that come up we are responding appropriately, and we are handling things as outlined with best practices," Womack said.

Some of the issues plaguing LPD in recent weeks include a sex scandal involving a civilian employee and at least 10 sworn officers, concerns about officers falsifying DUI reports, and questions about training deficiencies following criticisms from State Attorney Jerry Hill over a traffic stop bra-shaking incident.
 

Lieutenant Hans Lehman, who works in LPD's professional standards division, says CFA inspectors knew coming in what the department has been up against recently. 
 

"They understand what's going on, and they understand the situation, but they also understand that we've worked hard the last two and a half, three years to get back to where we were," Lehman said.

Accreditation team leader Jose Monteagudo, a deputy chief of police in Key Biscayne, says the CFA accreditation assessment has more to do with how a department handles scandal rather than what the scandal may be.
 

"There's no such thing as finding good things or bad things when you're accrediting an agency. Basically what you're doing is ensuring that they have the procedures in place that are standard compliant, and that they're doing exactly what they say," Monteagudo said.

Once inspectors complete their review they will forward it to the full state commission for consideration. The commission makes a final decision on LPD's accreditation.

 

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