Lakeland leaders welcome public meeting about police department - WFLA News Channel 8

Lakeland leaders welcome public meeting about police department

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The city of Lakeland is inviting state attorney Jerry Hill to air his grievances about the city's scandal-plagued police department. The city of Lakeland is inviting state attorney Jerry Hill to air his grievances about the city's scandal-plagued police department.

The city of Lakeland is opening its doors, inviting State Attorney Jerry Hill to come air his grievances about the city's scandal-plagued police department.

City commissioners are giving the state attorney a couple of options. Hill can come to Lakeland for a public meeting to talk with commissioners or Hill can have a private meeting with city manager Doug Thomas to discussed the troubled Lakeland P.D.

Hill proposed a meeting with Lakeland City Manager Doug Thomas more than a month ago.

But, when Thomas learned that Hill invited the media so the state attorney could air his grievances, Thomas backed off.

He sought guidance from his bosses, the Lakeland City Commission.

Commissioners voted to invite Hill to Lakeland to meet with them publicly or give the state attorney the option to meet privately with Thomas.

"Jerry Hill is a powerful elected official and we have aligned interests here and we want to do everything that I can and I know the others do to work with him,"said Lakeland City Commissioner Keith Merritt.

The commissioner also agreed that if the state attorney does not wish to participate in an open meeting in Lakeland, they would support a closed door meeting with city manager Thomas.

Thomas would look forward to a private meeting.

"You get out of the trappings of a formal meeting you get the principals together and you try to find some common ground. I have reiterated my desire to do that and I believe there is a way to do that, but that's a two way conversation," Thomas said.

Lakeland P.D. has endured a sex scandal as well as allegations by the state attorney that officers were not truthful during the investigation.

Related: Lakeland commissioners support sergeant caught in sex scandal

He convened a grand jury to investigate procedures by which the Lakeland Police Department collected and disseminated information to the public.

Hill claims police chief Lisa Womack is incapable of leading the department.

Commissioners gave city manager Thomas a unanimous vote of confidence. A vote of confidence for Womack was withdrawn.

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