Womack's future unclear at Lakeland Police Dept. - WFLA News Channel 8

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Womack's future unclear at Lakeland Police Dept.

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Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack is on paid administrative leave. Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack is on paid administrative leave.

Whether Lisa Womack will continue to lead the Lakeland Police Department is unclear, as an investigation into her hiring practices has her on paid administrative leave.

The decision was announced Thursday by Lakeland's City Manager after the state attorney's office released an investigative summary with what the City Manager Doug Thomas called "serious allegations."

“Under the circumstances it was the only choice I had available to me,” said Thomas.

The move stems from a 2012 hiring situation involving Womack's nephew.

According to the state attorney's investigative summary- Womack threw out a stack of tests for a position in which more than half the class - including her nephew- failed.

Her nephew was never hired at Lakeland Police Department, but the investigation concludes there was criminal misconduct and deviation from Lakeland City Ordinance.

“She's entitled to due process like any other city employee,” Thomas said. “That's the process we used - it puts someone on paid administrative leave until we have the opportunity to review the allegations in particular. We have stood down as the state attorney has done their work. The state attorney has completed or ceased their operations so now it's our turn to pick up the pieces,” Thomas added.

It's a move Lakeland Commissioner Keith Merritt supports.

“I would applaud the city manager,” he said. “I think he would have much preferred to have had a smooth week, as the weeks we've had in the recent past. He had a tight rope to walk and I think did it successfully.”

Thomas has no predictions on whether Womack will be back on the job at LPD again. The city's investigation in this matter starts with reviewing all the information that led to the 20-page summary released by the state attorney pn Thursday.

“We're the ones that are best suited to determine whether violations of city policies and procedures took place as it relates to our own policies and procedures,” Thomas said.

In the meantime, Assistant Chief Larry Giddens is leading the force.

However, a LPD spokesman confirms he is also under a separate investigation into allegations he threatened a retired Lakeland police officer over negative Facebook posts about the department.

It’s more drama to a department that's had their fair-share in recent years.

News Channel 8 spoke with Lakeland Commissioner Phillip Walker on Friday. He said it's time to move on.

Lisa Womack has not issued a statement to the recent move by the city manager. When asked about a statement Friday, the Lakeland PD Spokesman said, “She’s out of the state.”

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