Two members of Lakeland police oversight board resign - FOX 13 News

Two members of Lakeland police oversight board resign

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In the world of theater, the show must go on. In Lakeland, the work of the newly-formed board to oversee and help the police department will as well, even though two of its key members just abruptly left.

On Tuesday, Lakeland's mayor, Gow Fields, said it's full-steam ahead, even though two of the board's key members have decided to pull out, even before the first meeting. Joe P. Ruthven is a former mayor of Lakeland, and was to be the chairman of the new oversight board. Dr. Eileen Holden is the president of Polk State College.

"It certainly is a disappointment, but we still have the same work to do," said Mayor Gow Fields.

Fields said he hasn't decided if the two will be replaced or who will be the next chairperson. Fields says if he decides to fill the now vacant spots, it shouldn't be hard to find replacements.

"We have had a flood of people who have wanted to be engaged, involved and serve on this committee," he said.

Although neither Ruthven nor Holden have spoken out publicly about why they left, but agree the board is too big. It had 15 embers including them.

In a letter to the chief of police, Holden sites other concerns: city commission members not getting along and working together, the city commission and newspaper are at odds with each other, and there is a lack of trust between the city and the state attorney's office.

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