Three members of the Advisory Commission working to guide the Lakeland Police Department out of troubled waters after sex scandal.
Lakeland, FL - The Lakeland Police Advisory Commission is making 22 recommendations following a series of scandals that have rocked the LPD, but Chief Lisa Womack's future is not a subject discussed in the commission's final report.
The report was presented to the Lakeland City Commission on Monday morning during a meeting that lasted nearly five hours.
While dodging the issue of whether the Lakeland PD needs a new leader the LPAC Chair Bruce Abels did call Womack an agent of "change".
He also seemed to give her a vote of confidence when he said:
"It's unfortunate that we're in an environment where firing someone is seen as the only acceptable action. But she has not been afraid to deal with people who have violated policy and not done the right thing."
In recent months, the city manager said 10 Lakeland Police officers have been fired with seven others disciplined for various reasons.
Yet, to continue moving forward LPAC recommended:
- An outside performance appraisal be done of the police chief, city manager and others
- An outside review of LPD's processes, procedures and practices be done by a law enforcement entity like the Florida Police Chiefs Association
- A 1-800 number be set-up for anonymous city employee complaints
- The city conduct an anonymous values survey
- Beef-up the city's Human Resources staff
- Regular meetings be scheduled with State Attorney Jerry Hill, who has been extremely critical of the Police Dept and its Chief
"We need to work with him because if we don't we can't get criminal cases prosecuted," Abels said of Hill.
The report was framed by some as the start of a new chapter for Lakeland like City Manager Doung Thomas.
"I believe you have the tools before you now between what LPAD has recommended and what I've recommended in concert with the LPD a series of recommendations that allow this community to heal and move forward," Thomas said.
Womack also said it's time to move past a series of stories that have given her department as black-eye.
"I love my job and the day-to-day pressure that comes with it is something that we have to work our way though. I'm looking forward to having the pressure reduced but we can move forward," the Chief told reporters after Monday's meeting. "This is the end of this chapter we've talked about this and we have a lot of work to do move forward."
The City Commission will take this LPAC report under advisement and decide later which if any recommendations it wants to adopt.
More Lakeland Police Department stories...
Alleged victim: Lakeland cop "kept asking for sex"
911 calls released in Lakeland police sex arrest
No major changes in Lakeland top managers... for now
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Eberle files complaints against Lakeland PD
Commissioners call for police chief's job
Rally to supports Lakeland PD and chief
Lakeland PD chief 'not afraid' of losing job
State Attorney calls out Lakeland police chief
Commissioner wants to help mend LPD image
Chief "fed up" over more alleged sexual misconduct
Lakeland Police officer charged with sexual battery, stalking
Officer given 1-day suspension in bra-shaking incident