Lakeland commissioners: no audit from Judd for LPD Chief Womack

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Lakeland commissioners: no audit from Judd for LPD Chief Womack

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A majority of Lakeland city commissioners stand behind Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack and city manager Doug Thomas. Commissioner Howard Wiggs suggested the department should be audited by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

"This would be done by someone who, for the most part, everybody in Lakeland, everybody in Polk County knows and trusts," said Wiggs. "And if we get a clean bill of health, it will highlight clearly that we're headed in the right direction."

Commissioners voted not to go that route.

Former LPD officer was arrested a few days ago on sex-related charges, which added to other scandals that shook the department lately.

More: Lakeland Police scandals.

In addition to that, Wiggs asked for the chief and city manager to resign. Commissioner Don Selvage also asked for the chief's resignation.

"We have a crisis in leadership in that department; and a crisis the current chief cannot control," said Selvage. "We need someone in charge who will demand change. Who tolerate no wavering. Who will crack the whip so loudly that everyone in that department will get in line."

Related story: Lakeland commissioner says Sheriff Judd should look into LPD problems

Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields urged members of the commission to wait for the Police Advisory Committee's suggestions before making any quick decisions.

"Part of the chief's job was was to continue rooting out and getting rid of those who no longer needed to wear the badge," he said. "So we found one more that needed to go. "

Commissioners voted 5-2 to stand behind the city manager and the chief. The Police Advisory Committee is slated to present its findings to the commission on Oct. 21.

"I think that was a discussion that was much-needed," Chief Womack would later say. "They have their opinion and it's good for the commissioners to be able to work their way through that and answer the questions they have amongst themselves."

She hopes to change perceptions through action.

"I think that as we move forward and prove that we're taking care of our business and doing things the right way and holding people accountable ... that those discussions hopefully will become less and less."

News Channel 8's Josh Green contributed to this report.
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