By a vote of six to one, Lakeland commissioners just gave a thumbs-up to a new citizens' advisory panel. The panel was the brainchild of the mayor.
The scope of the new group is still a little unclear. At first, the mayor wanted members to limit their inquiry into how to encourage employees of the police department to report a problem if they see one.
The department has taken enormous criticism lately because of a sex scandal that grew for years without being officially recognized. The panel is also supposed to figure out ways to make the community more comfortable reporting problems to the police.
There was one dissenting vote on Monday. Commissioner Justin Troller endorses the idea of a citizen's panel, but thinks it should be appointed after all the investigations into the investigations are complete. Right now, there are ongoing investigations into the sex scandal, a bra shaking incident, and a DUI officer accused of fudging paperwork.
Troller also says the panel should also be allowed to look into the actions of the police chief and city manager.
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