Commissioner Howard Wiggs, who is also running for mayor of Lakeland, says the commission needs to help clean up the reputation of the police department immediately.
Lakeland, Florida - Commissioner Howard Wiggs, who is also running for mayor of Lakeland, says the commission needs to help clean up the reputation of the police department immediately.
Wiggs is reacting to the latest scandal to rock the department with the arrest of Officer Julio Pagan, who was arraigned Thursday on armed sex battery charges.
"If Chief Womack thinks that she understand outrange; I think that the citizens in Lakeland can really tell you what outrage means," said Wiggs.
On top of the arrest, reports suggest that the victim tried to report Pagan to authorities, but the 911 operator who took her call never reported it to supervisors.
See Also: 911 calls released in Lakeland police sex arrest
State Attorney Jerry Hill criticized police chief Lisa Womack leadership within the department in a public news conference on Thursday.
READ: State attorney's letter (PDF)
"Now folks, if that's not putting the public at risk. If that's not a simple failure to do your job, and if the leadership can't read that, then the citizens ought to be storming the walls."
As evidence, Hill mentioned a July 10 News report that detailed how members of the department visited an Orlando club and posted lewd message about it during the sex scandal that hit the department early this summer.
The police chief said that she is doing the job that she was brought in to do, which is to clean up the department and is receiving support from the community.
"I can't speak for (Hill) but I do know that I disagree with the characterization of the quality of the police department," said Womack.
The chief continues to receive support from the City of Lakeland mayor.
"There are some things that needed to be uncovered and uprooted at LPD and corrected. We're going through that process," said Gow Fields.
Meantime, Commissioner Wiggs told me that on Monday he will present a plan that gets the commission to clean up the department's reputation... arguing that currents proposals have failed miserably.
"No one has offered any real long-term solutions and we have to craft one that will work for the entire community short-term and long-term," said Wiggs.
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