Former Lakeland PD chief cleared of wrongdoing, retired officers - WFLA News Channel 8

Former Lakeland PD chief cleared of wrongdoing, retired officers disappointed

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Former Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack. File photo Former Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack. File photo

Lisa Womack, the former Lakeland Police Chief who endured months of scrutiny amid a department-wide sex scandal is officially cleared of wrongdoing.

Lakeland's city manager issued the official letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Tuesday. Hours after the news broke, two retired LPD officers expressed their disappointment with the findings.

“I was totally upset at one point, but not surprised, because I knew what the outcome would be,” Don Bell said.

Don Bell's retirement in 2011 from the department after more than 20 years doesn't mean he called it quits.

“I was raised that family's important and you just don't walk away from that,” he said.

He thinks of himself as sort of a spokesman for the current officers who are afraid to speak up about what seems wrong in the department. And when it comes to former chief Lisa Womack, Bell claims officers had a lot of complaints.

“She may not have had a policy violation, but conduct unbecoming is there,” Bell said.

Two outside reports found allegations against the former chief unfounded.

“And based on those reports the city manager decided we put that she left on good standing,” Lakeland spokesman Kevin Cook said.

On paper, it lists her departure as “voluntary separation not involving misconduct.”

“It's a neverending story. It's like a fairy tale gone bad,” Bell said.

Womack was pleased with the determination by the city and applauded them for looking into the claims thoroughly.

“I didn't do anything wrong,” Womack said. “There's no misconduct, no policy violations. I was just doing my job,” she stated.

Womack calls the accusations “rumors” and quite frankly doesn't care what the naysayers think.

“The critics who say this is not the way it should end are not the ones in charge, so really their opinion is not very important to me,” she said.

Bell fears this finding will lead to ignorance among officers who've been told to report wrongdoing.

“Because I'll be the bad guy,” he said of how officers will now feel. “And I guarantee you I'll be retaliated against. No way I’m gonna do it, so they killed it,” Bell said.

Womack is still in the area attending community events and meetings. She said she loves the community of Lakeland, just not the politics. Womack refused to comment specifically on her job hunt, but confirmed she is looking.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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