Lakeland PD scandals could result in disciplinary action - WFLA News Channel 8

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Lakeland PD scandals could result in disciplinary action

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Mayor Gow Fields & Chief Lisa Womack Mayor Gow Fields & Chief Lisa Womack
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

We should know Monday if several highly publicized scandals at the Lakeland Police Department will cost people their jobs.

Throughout the day Friday, three sergeants had disciplinary hearings that were apparently pretty lengthy and went into the late afternoon hours.

"The actual details of the administrative investigation are still confidential," said Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack. "But we are steadily moving through that and should be starting disciplinary steps in the near future."

It comes at a time when the city's mayor announced the creation of a police advisory commission to investigate the problems and make suggestions on how to fix them.

Over the past week there have been numerous stories surface from the department, including a reported sex scandal, improper searches from officers making women shake out their bras, as well as other professional conduct issues.

"We've got what I believe is a good next set of steps for us to do as we work with the police department," said Mayor Gow Fields.

The co-chair people of the advisory panel will be Joe Ruthven, former mayor of Lakeland and a local businessman, and Dr. Eileen Holden, the President of Polk State College since 2006.

Other members are:

  • Dr. Anne Kerr, President of Florida Southern College
  • Dr. Elaine Thompson, CEO of Lakeland Regional Health Systems and Lakeland Regional Medical Center
  • Frank O'Reilly, former Mayor of Lakeland and former Polk County School Board member
  • Katrina Lunsford, Vice President of Fifth Third Bank
  • Ana Rivera, President & CEO of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Polk County
  • Dr. Jim Sewell, retired from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  • Tim Jackson, Chief Operating Officer of NuJak Development and the chair-elect for the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce

The panel will conduct its business independently from the city and should have recommendations in the next 60 to 90 days.

The Mayor says the city is prepared to learn from what's happened.

"We can't un-ring the bell that's been rung but we can play a different instrument," Fields said. "We are embarrassed and ashamed just as anyone else. We're not proud of the national attention that has come on this community as a result of it."

"We cannot undo the embarrassment, the harm, and the shame that's happened. But what we can do is demonstrate organizational maturity, move forward and help our citizens understand that we truly embrace where we are. We're prepared to learn from it."

Read more about the scandals:
6/20/2013 Related Story: Officials question Lakeland bra-shaking police search
6/22/2013 Related Story:
FL investigates Lakeland police DUI procedures
7/9/2013 Related Story:
Lakeland police captain retires amidst sex probe

 

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