Polk Co. State Attorney addresses concerns with Lakeland Police - WFLA News Channel 8

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Polk Co. state attorney addresses concerns with Lakeland P.D.

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Polk Co. state attorney Jerry Hill Polk Co. state attorney Jerry Hill
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) - In a very unusual move, Polk County state attorney Jerry Hill appeared before the Lakeland city council to outline what he says are many problems his office has had with the city's police department in prosecuting cases.

Hill says his office has been forced to drop cases and he questions the credibility of some officers in the department.

Hill told the council:  "We try so hard to make sure when we have secured a conviction we have done the right thing we can't do that unless we can rely on the credibility of the believability of the people that tell us what happened."

The Lakeland Police Department that has been plagued with scandal over the past year.

Related content:  Coverage of Lakeland Police Department scandals

Several officers have either been fired or resigned.

Hill told the city council his office has found problems ranging from improper handling of evidence to insufficient training and supervision of officers.

"There is a complete absence of leadership in your administration its is letting them down it is improper supervision, I think it is improper case review and possibly no meaningful training," said Hill.

Some city commissioners had a lot of questions for the state attorney.

But the most pointed questions came from Mayor Gow Fields, who said progress has been made in the city's police department.

Mayor Fields went on to say, "at the very least you would expect to see substantial progress and I would say to you, we are making progress it is not a campaign spiel because I am on my way out of office it is something I deeply believe in my heart," said outgoing Mayor Fields.

In the end, the council listened to State Attorney Hill's concerns, but did not take any action.

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