Lakeland P.D. woes prompt scathing letter - WSPA.com

Lakeland P.D. woes prompt scathing letter

Posted: Updated:
Lakeland City Manager Doug Tomas & Mayor Gow Fields Lakeland City Manager Doug Tomas & Mayor Gow Fields
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

It's a war of words between Polk County State Attorney Jerry Hill and Lakeland city leaders. Hill wrote a 2 1/2 page letter calling Police Chief Lisa Womack, more of a threat than a protector. "If it had just been the Pagan case itself, I doubt we'd be standing here. What Pagan points out is a cultural issue that Lakeland knew about, the city manager knew about it, the chief knew about it and did nothing," Said Jerry Hill. Officer Julio Pagan is charged with two counts of Armed Sexual Battery and is the latest case to rock the department.

The Lakeland city manager and the mayor both say, the comments expressed by Jerry Hill in this letter, are reckless and wrong. "Mr. Hill wants us to use a sledge hammer. I prefer to use a scalpel," said Mayor Gow Fields.

Lakeland city leaders say the state attorney wants to halt investigations before they are finished. "Mr. Hill has erroneously stated that our course of action has been to stonewall, filibuster and with the hopes that the problems will simply go away. That simply has not been the case," said City Manager Doug Thomas.

The mayor says it’s time to let the system work. "While Mr. Hill suggests that due process is not appropriate when it comes to LPD, I would say to you, he is absolutely wrong."

Jerry Hill used a sports analogy, saying if you're not winning games; it's time to do something different. Mayor Fields responded "I understand how Mr. Hill feels, but I am not prepared to fire the coach for doing a good job."

Chief Womack says people tell her often, they support her efforts. She doesn't like Hill's comments about safety at risk. "To suggest that that somehow the things that we are dealing with now puts any of our community in jeopardy is just, it, as the manager said, reckless," she said.

The message from the city: let the investigations finish and then judge the outcome.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • TPD homicide detective under federal criminal investigation

    TPD homicide detective under federal criminal investigation

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:55 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:55:30 GMT
    Tampa Police Officer Eric Houston, who is working at a crime scene in this file photo, is under federal investigation.Tampa Police Officer Eric Houston, who is working at a crime scene in this file photo, is under federal investigation.
    The feds are investigating one of Tampa Police Department's lead homicide detectives. Officer Eric Houston, who is one of the lead detectives in the Julie Schenecker murder investigation, is under federal criminal investigation. 
    The feds are investigating one of Tampa Police Department's lead homicide detectives. Officer Eric Houston, who is one of the lead detectives in the Julie Schenecker murder investigation, is under federal criminal investigation. 
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 4:01 AM EDT2014-04-22 08:01:42 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • Tampa homeowner says Duke Energy is a bully for taking her oak tree

    Tampa homeowner says Duke Energy is a bully for taking her oak tree

    Monday, April 21 2014 5:34 PM EDT2014-04-21 21:34:15 GMT
    Neda Dandache and her family love their backyard oasis, even though a gigantic Duke Energy transmission tower abuts their backyard. Oak trees block that view, for now, and give them shade.The trees have never been an issue, but now, Duke wants them gone. Dandache says Duke's forester told her they may cause a problem - seven years from now."
    Neda Dandache and her family love their backyard oasis, even though a gigantic Duke Energy transmission tower abuts their backyard. Oak trees block that view, for now, and give them shade.The trees have never been an issue, but now, Duke wants them gone. Dandache says Duke's forester told her they may cause a problem - seven years from now."
  • NewsMore>>

  • SKorea ferry toll hits 150 as search gets tougher

    SKorea ferry toll hits 150 as search gets tougher

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 2:36 AM EDT2014-04-23 06:36:03 GMT
    The grim work of recovering bodies from the submerged South Korea ferry proceeded rapidly Wednesday, with the official death toll reaching 150, though a government official said divers must now rip through cabin...
    The grim work of recovering bodies from the submerged South Korea ferry proceeded rapidly Wednesday, with the official death toll reaching 150, though a government official said divers must now rip through cabin walls to...
  • Australia signals deeper search for Malaysian jet

    Australia signals deeper search for Malaysian jet

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 2:04 AM EDT2014-04-23 06:04:44 GMT
    As the search continued off the coast of Australia for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet on Monday, the airline announced another plane bound for India was forced to make an emergency landing after one of its tires...
    Australia's prime minister said Wednesday that failure to find any clue in the most likely crash site of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet would not spell the end of the search, as officials planned to soon bring in...
  • Canadiens sweep Lightning with 4-3 win

    Canadiens sweep Lightning with 4-3 win

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:35 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:35:42 GMT
    Max Pacioretty lifted the Montreal Canadiens into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs Tuesday night with a power-play goal with 43 seconds remaining for a 4-3 victory and a four-game sweep of Tampa Bay.The first team to advance this year, the Canadiens also got goals from Daniel Briere, Brendan Gallagher and Lars Eller. Montreal now faces a long wait for the Eastern Conference semifinal against the winner of the Boston-Detroit series.Ondrej Palat had a goal and an assist for Tampa Ba...
    Max Pacioretty lifted the Montreal Canadiens into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs Tuesday night with a power-play goal with 43 seconds remaining for a 4-3 victory and a four-game sweep of Tampa Bay.The first team to advance this year, the Canadiens also got goals from Daniel Briere, Brendan Gallagher and Lars Eller. Montreal now faces a long wait for the Eastern Conference semifinal against the winner of the Boston-Detroit series.Ondrej Palat had a goal and an assist for Tampa Ba...
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • Update: Governor Haley To Suspend Simpsonville Mayor Eichor

    Update: Governor Haley To Suspend Simpsonville Mayor Eichor

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:56 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:56:15 GMT
    Simpsonville Mayor Perry Eichor was arrested Tuesday. He faces charges of Intimidation of a Court Official, Misconduct in Office and Obstruction of Justice following a state investigation.
    Simpsonville Mayor Perry Eichor was arrested Tuesday. He faces charges of Intimidation of a Court Official, Misconduct in Office and Obstruction of Justice following a state investigation.
  • Duke: Moving Coal Ash Would Cost Up To $10 Billion

    Duke: Moving Coal Ash Would Cost Up To $10 Billion

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 8:58 PM EDT2014-04-23 00:58:27 GMT
    Duke Energy Says Customers Will Likely Foot The Bill To Cleanup Coal AshDuke Energy Says Customers Will Likely Foot The Bill To Cleanup Coal Ash
    Duke Energy says that removing all of the company's coal ash away from North Carolina's rivers and lakes would take decades and cost up to $10 billion, with the state's electricity customers likely footing nearly all the bill. Duke's North Carolina president Paul Newton told state lawmakers Tuesday the company needs flexibility to consider more cost-efficient options that include leaving much of its 100 million tons of toxic ash in place after being covered with giant tarps and soil.
    Duke Energy says that removing all of the company's coal ash away from North Carolina's rivers and lakes would take decades and cost up to $10 billion, with the state's electricity customers likely footing nearly all the bill. Duke's North Carolina president Paul Newton told state lawmakers Tuesday the company needs flexibility to consider more cost-efficient options that include leaving much of its 100 million tons of toxic ash in place after being covered with giant tarps and soil.
  • Greenville Moms Accused of Abandoning Babies Charged Differently

    Greenville Moms Accused of Abandoning Babies Charged Differently

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 5:53 PM EDT2014-04-22 21:53:30 GMT
    Sharon Ferguson, left, is accused of abandoning her newborn in a trashcan Monday. She faces a more severe charge than Jessica Blackham, right, who abandoned her baby in a toilet at the Bi-Lo Center in 2011.Sharon Ferguson, left, is accused of abandoning her newborn in a trashcan Monday. She faces a more severe charge than Jessica Blackham, right, who abandoned her baby in a toilet at the Bi-Lo Center in 2011.
    The Greenville woman accused of abandoning her newborn in a trash can Monday faces a more severe charge than the woman who abandoned her baby in a toilet at the Bi-Lo Center in 2011.
    The Greenville woman accused of abandoning her newborn in a trash can Monday faces a more severe charge than the woman who abandoned her baby in a toilet at the Bi-Lo Center in 2011.
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.