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Will yet another Lakeland PD scandal affect top brass?

9:45 PM, Sep 24, 2013   |    comments
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Lakleand, FL -- Just as Lakeland PD emerges from an embarrassing widespread sex scandal, another bombshell.

"I'm shocked as well as the rest of the department," said Lakeland Police spokesman Sgt. Gary Gross.

The department confirms a 31-year-old officer who left the Bartow police department on good terms, and has been with Lakeland PD for just two years, is now under criminal investigation.

"That is Officer Julio Pagan," said Gross.

Sgt. Gross would not address rumors that Pagan's case, once again, involves sex on the job.

See also: Lakeland Police officer suspended

But Gross did say the case is unrelated to the sex scandal involving former crime analyst Sue Eberle.

The allegations against Pagan are also beyond just an intenral, administrative matter.

"Somebody's brought some informaiton forward which could be criminal in nature," said Gross, "And that's what we're looking into."

Chief Lisa Womack had said repeatedly that the department's recent sex scandal came to light under her administration, but that the incdients themselves took place before she was hired two years ago.

This incident, however would have taken place under Womack's  leadership. And so she could face even more public criticism.

See also: Lakeland Police chief facing scrutiny

"Yeah, I'm pretty fed up with it," said Lakeland Resident Carlos Garcia. "It's something to worry about. Something to really keep an eye on."

That added public scrutiny may pressure Womack to make an example of Pagan, but the department's union representative, Nicholas Marolda, says the heat has already been on the chief during previous disciplinary hearings.

"And at the end of the day she's proven to hand out fair and equitable punishment," said Marolda.

Chief Womack was scheduled to take a vacation this week, but changed her schedule to stay in town after learning about the allegations against Officer Pagan.

Her decision may indicate that Womack is keenly aware of the scrutiny this case could bring upon Officer Pagan, the Lakeland Police Department - and perceptions about her leadership.

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