Lakeland city manager talks about LPD scandals - WFLA News Channel 8

Lakeland city manager talks about LPD scandals

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Lakeland City Manager Doug Thomas is facing the hot seat over the problem plagued Lakeland Police Department Lakeland City Manager Doug Thomas is facing the hot seat over the problem plagued Lakeland Police Department
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

Lakeland City Manager Doug Thomas is arguably facing some of the toughest scrutiny of his 10 year career with the city. He's in the hot seat over the on-going drama surrounding the Lakeland Police Department.

"I can't apologize enough to this community about what we're all experiencing," Thomas said in an exclusive interview with WFLA-TV.

RELATED STORY 9/5/2013:
Citizen panel weighs in on Lakeland Police Department

"This has affected me, but I know this has affected this community, and I'm deeply disturbed and sorry that that has taken place," he said.

Thomas is referring to the problem plagued Lakeland Police Department. A department he ultimately supervises as Lakeland's City Manager. He hired embattled Chief Lisa Womack and continues to support her handling of a series of high profile scandals.

RELATED STORY 7/30/2013:
Fired Lakeland Police sergeants fight for their jobs back

"Every time there's been an issue of wrongdoing or misconduct she's done the right thing. She has not run from it. She has sheltered the department, done the proper investigation and issued appropriate discipline," Thomas said.

Thomas is acutely aware of the growing chorus of voices calling for not only Chief Womack's termination but his resignation as well.

"To some extent there's a shoot the messenger mentality out there," he said. "It's painful to go through."

He's not backing down though, and he says he's not firing the chief either.

What Thomas is doing is firing back at the rush to judgment in the community. Judgment he believes is fueled by State Attorney Jerry Hill's unrelenting criticism of the police department, Chief Womack and the city's handling of the crisis.

"I think most people expect our governments, regardless if it's federal, state or local, that we work cooperatively together instead of shooting at each other, and unfortunately we're not there at this moment," Thomas said.

The city manager is just hopeful the community will afford him and the police department enough support and patience to make the necessary improvements to the beleaguered department.

"I'm extremely proud of the reputation this community has. I'm extremely saddened by what we're going through now, but I've not given up," Thomas said.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Lakeland Police Department Scandal
   
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