Interim Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens under investigation

8:48 PM, Jan 31, 2014   |    comments
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Assistant Police Chief Larry Giddens was appointed the Lakeland Police Department's Interim Police Chief on Jan. 30.
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Lakeland, Florida -- While Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack has resigned from her position with the department, 10 News has learned her temporary replacement is the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation.

Retired Lakeland Police Officer Jimmy Mock says he can't believe that the person chosen to replace her on an interim basis is Assistant Police Chief Larry Giddens.

"It's almost like they traded one bad apple for another," Mock says.

To say law enforcement is in his Mock's blood would be an understatement. Mock served on the force for more than two decades before retiring three years ago. He filed a citizens complaint against Giddens last year after he says Giddens asked him to meet for coffee in downtown Lakeland.

Giddens, he says, was unhappy about Mock posting comments on Mock's personal Facebook page that are critical of the recent negative headlines swirling around the department.

"It's embarrassing what's going on down there right now," Mock says.

He says Giddens told him he was delivering a message on Chief Womack's behalf to change his "retired in good standing" status by downgrading it to poor.

"Oh it was a jab in the gut because I love the police department. I love my work because I always stayed above the law. That just didn't rub right especially since my dad had been there for 33 years and then I'd been there for 23 years." 

The State Attorney's Office looked into whether Mock's first amendment rights were being violated. They didn't find any evidence of that, but now Lakeland Police Department's Internal Affairs Division is looking into it.

Sgt. Gary Gross is a spokesman for the Lakeland Police Department and says they can't comment about the Internal Affairs investigation. But he does say just being under investigation doesn't mean you can't be promoted or assigned different duties unless the allegations are criminal in nature.

Mock gives his official statement to the police department on Monday morning at 11 a.m.

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