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Lakeland Police Department

The Lakeland Police Department is defending the actions of two officers who came under fire after a video posted on social media showed them fighting a man under an Interstate 4 overpass Tuesday afternoon.


Have FUN SVO / Flickr

Nine Lakeland police officers have been suspended after driving at very high speeds during a trip to a police dog competition.

StoryCorps

Edgar Pickett Jr. was the first black police officer on the force in Lakeland, a job he held for over 29 years.

But there was one day 50 years ago his career was almost cut short.

He shared the story - along with other stories from his career and his life with his wife of 64 years - with his son, Edgar Pickett III, at the Story Corps mobile booth in St. Petersburg this past January.

Music:
“Sherlock (Extended Remix)" - Fluid Vibraphonic

This week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay was produced by Lisa Peakes.

Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack has been placed on leave after a report by the Polk State Attorney's Office raised allegations that she gave her nephew special treatment for a job. Womack had already offered her resignation effective May 1 in the wake of a no-confidence vote by police department employees.

Lakeland City Manager Douglas Thomas appointed Assistant Chief Larry Giddens as Acting Chief of Police until the findings are investigated.

Here's the post by Thomas:

Lakeland Police Chief Resigns Effective May 1

Jan 24, 2014

Her resignation comes in the wake of a no-confidence vote this week by Lakeland Police Department employees. The total of the two votes — one of unionized police officers and one of non-union officers and civilian employees — was 152-123 to express no confidence.

The votes came on the heels of a year when the department was rocked by a variety of problems. In 2013, Lakeland Police Department faced the most widespread scandal in its history, including a large sexual misconduct investigation, criminal cases fouled by search and reporting procedures, the arrest of an officer on charges he sexually abused and stalked a woman while on duty, and a grand jury investigation into problems with Womack and the department's handling of public records. In all, 27 LPD employees have been disciplined, including about a dozen officers who resigned in lieu of termination and three who were fired.

Grand Jury Presentment Blasts Lakeland Police Chief

Dec 13, 2013

An 18-page grand jury presentment released today criticizes Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack for not complying with Florida's public records laws and recommends that she be removed as chief.