Lakeland police chief answers state attorney criticisms - WFLA News Channel 8

Lakeland police chief answers state attorney criticisms

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LPD Chief Lisa Womack LPD Chief Lisa Womack

Today Lakeland Police fired back against criticisms made by State Attorney Jerry Hill last month. In a 68-page report to city commissioners L.P.D. detailed case by case what efforts have been taken or are in the works to address Mr. Hill's concerns.

"I believe we have made great strides to address all the issues that have been brought to our attention," Police Chief Lisa Womack said.

In all, the department reviewed 25 cases which Mr. Hill specifically identified as troubling. Lakeland Police Lieutenant Steve Walker who oversees the agency's Office of Professional Standard said there's no question some of the blame lands squarely on officers.

"Well we found cases where we did drop the ball," Walker said. "And we're addressing those," he added.

Walker did go on to say though that prosecutors do bear some of the responsibility, particularly in cases where it initially appeared officers weren't communication with the State Attorney's Office in a timely manner. Walker said in some of those cases it was simply a problem of miscommunication with prosecutors.

State Attorney's Office spokesman Brian Haas said those assertions don't add up.

"We are not aware of any other law enforcement agency that has problems submitting paperwork like L.P.D. does," Haas said.

Womack assured commissioners that a variety of policy and procedural changes are already in place to improve the department’s operation, and further reviews will continue.

"I believe we can always improve in every area," Womack said.

City Manager Doug Thomas said the next step is to take the L.P.D. findings and discuss them personally in a meeting with Mr. Hill.

"We've got to make sure the two agencies, as I mentioned, fit like a hand in a glove, and I'm committed to doing that, and I believe in my conversation with Mr. Hill in late December that he's prepared to do that as well," Thomas said.

So far, no date for a meeting between the two agencies has been set.

Related Content: Lakeland leaders welcome public meeting about the Lakeland Police Department

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