Facing the city commission for the first time since news broke of massive sexual misconduct at the Lakeland Police Department (LPD), Chief Lisa Womack said the agency is moving in the right direction toward rooting out all problems.
Lakeland, Florida - Sex may sometimes be the fodder of radio talk show jokes, but Wednesday morning on Max 98.3, Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack was all business as she fielded questions about her department's sex scandal.
"If they're going to tarnish the badge, they're not going to be able to wear the badge," she said of officers who have disgraced and embarrassed the department.
Last month a state report revealed big problems, including officers having sex on the job... some of it consensual and some of it not. A crime scene analyst said she'd been victimized.
Womack says the misconduct has been going on for 13 years and that the stink is spreading.
"This is broader than the Lakeland police department. The information that we have spans several departments outside the police department," the Chief told listeners.
Besides the ongoing internal affairs investigation, Lakeland's mayor has formed a 15-member police advisory commission. Jim Sewell is part of the group. The former FDLE Regional Director will bring some 40 years of law enforcement experience to the table.
Back in 2008, Sewell led a similar group looking into the wheelchair dumping controversy at the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office and he says some outside eyes can do some good.
Sewell sees the commission's mission this way. "To look at some of the big issues, particularly the culture that is there and dealing with openness, and the ability to report things that are wrong," he said.
And the Chief says she also welcomes the chance to answer questions and take guidance from this community commission. "I see it as an opportunity for two way communication," she said. "There is nothing bad about it, all good."
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