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Lakeland Chief "chats" about changing culture at dept. | News

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Lakeland Chief "chats" about changing culture at dept.

Lakeland, Florida- For nearly two hours, Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack took questions and comments.

"This is disgusting...I look at a police car now and I wonder 'What are they doing in there now?'" said one Lakeland resident disgusted over allegations of Lakeland Police officers having sex on the job.

From discussion about public records, to the controversy over a female driver asked to pull out and shake her bra during a traffic stop, no topics were off limits.

See also: Lakeland Police make woman shake bra during search

"As a woman, if I was to get pulled over by LPD, I am going to feel a little bit nervous," said another woman talking to the chief.

Chief Womack, assures the public that officer training and protocol is being thoroughly reviewed.

"If anyone thinks I'm going to openly and knowingly support any policies that would humiliate women, then have a chat with me and I'll tell you how I feel about women being humiliated," said Chief Womack.

But the big issue on everyone's mind was how an alleged culture of sex and lewd behavior among officers on the job was able to continue for so long.

"I was appalled," said resident Ricky Shirah after reading an article in the New York Daily News. "I was sick to my stomach, 'When Florida's Horniest Cops' in Lakeland Florida...It just turned my stomach that this has happened."

The Chief explaining those officers and the culture that allowed their alleged actions are being dealt with swiftly.

"If you chose to violate the trust of the police department and the community, then you have also chosen not to be a Lakeland Police Officer," said Chief Womack.

Despite the concern and outrage expressed by many, others voiced their support for the chief and her agency.

"I know you're going to take care of the problem, and we've got your back," said Shirah.

"She answered questions very openly and candidly, as candidly as she possibly could and I was very impressed with that," said John Ruffin.

The Chief says her monthly chats with the community will continue, determined not to let the alleged actions of a few tarnish the badges of the other officers in her agency.

"This is important for me to have an open and frank conversation, not scripted, not telling them what I wanted them to hear but actually responding to what they wanted to hear, what they wanted to know," said Chief Womack.

"This is not the end of it and this is not the end of our conversation with our community. We will be doing more."

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Follow 10 News Reporter Beau Zimmer on twitter @Zimm10


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