‘The police are not policing themselves’ - FOX 13 News

‘The police are not policing themselves’

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LAKELAND (FOX 13) -

It was standing room only as Lakeland's Chief of Police answered tough questions about the sex scandal, inappropriate traffic stops and internal investigations that have plagued the department.

"This police department is currently not policing itself," said one citizen, although Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack respectfully disagreed.

A State Attorney's investigation found at least 10 police officers had sex with a woman on staff, both on and off duty, in patrol cars, city parks and even police headquarters. The report says it has been going on for seven years. 

Many at the public meeting say they're disgusted.

"For this disgrace to come to this police department is a great offense to our town," said Phillip Lykes of Lakeland.

"I really hate that this casts a shadow on our community. I want that restored," said Lorrie Walker.

"Folks, I absolutely do not blame you for being disgusted by what occurred," Womack said in response.

The Chief acknowledged the need to clean up the department. However, she also pointed out that the problems started long before she took over.

"Do I think this will send a message that change needs to happen, absolutely. Do I think I could've done anything different to stop it? It had been occurring six years. It was already happening," she said.

Still, many say restoring people's trust won't be easy.

"I feel like I'm remotely encouraged that some action will be taken, but frankly, I'm impatient." Walker said.

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