Lakeland has a new mayor, and if he has his way, the city will have a new police chief soon.
On Tuesday, Commissioner Howard Wiggs defeated incumbent mayor Gow Fields. For months, Wiggs has been trying to get support from city commissioners to fire Police Chief Lisa Womack.
He says Womack does not have the leadership skills needed to do the job. He has criticized Womack for how she handled a sex scandal, a bra-shaking incident, an officer being charged with sexual assault, and other embarrassments to the department.
"I have heard from too many police officers that we need a change in leadership," Wiggs said during his victory celebration. He may now be in a better position to accomplish his goal. Even though Wiggs would need the support of commissioners, he is now in a position to keep the issue on a front burner.
Wiggs will be sworn in on January 6. In the meantime, Lakeland's Chief has issued a written statement congratulating Wiggs and two runoff candidates. In part it says , "Through this transition, the Lakeland Police Department will continue to move forward and provide public safety to our community through a commitment to excellence."
During much of the campaign, Wiggs wanted to fire Lakeland City Manager Doug Thomas as well. Now, Wiggs says Thomas can stay as long as he improves his management skills.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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