Panel digs into Lakeland police problems - WFLA News Channel 8

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Panel digs into Lakeland police problems

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LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

The Lakeland Police Advisory Commission tasked with helping figure out what's wrong in the police department wants to know if their city wants them there in the first place.

"I think we should definitely get something from each individual on the commission saying 'yes we support you,'" said commission member Tim Jackson.

7/24/2013 Related Story: Three members of Lakeland police advisory commission resign

The questions come after Mayor Gow Fields picked 15 people to be on the panel, but five stepped down even before the first meeting. Some cited fears that the commission was too large. Mayor Fields said the City Commission was on-board to begin with, but hinted there was concern about how he formed the panel.

"We did have the full support of the commission to go forward with this as a citizen engagement vehicle," Fields said. "There were questions as to whether or not I had the authority to do the appointments and we believe we answered those with - yes I do."

He told the Police Advisory Commission in its first meeting Thursday that he will clarify City Commissioner support but stood firm that there needed to be movement when it came to the police department, which has been hit with several investigations over the past couple of weeks from a sex scandal, to reports of officers falsifying documents and forcing women to shake-out their bras during traffic stops.

"Our public was demanding much faster action than some people felt we were delivering," Mayor Fields said. "There are some things that did need to be very deliberate."

7/23/2013 Related Story: Town hall meeting brings out emotions, questions in Lakeland

But the LPAC wants reassurance.

"I for one would feel a whole lot better if we had that clear mandate from a united city commission to go ahead with this," said commission member Bruce Abels.

The advisory commission named Abels as chairman and Tim Jackson as vice-chair. They will meet weekly on Friday, starting August 2.

7/15/2013 Related Story: Two Lakeland police sergeants fired over sex scandal

Follow Josh Green on Twitter at @WFLAJoshG

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