Entire K-9 Unit suspended

police corruption, cops and crime, lakeland pd, ocala post, ocala news, lakeland police
Lakeland PD K-9 Unit –
Photo courtesy of the Lakeland Police Department

Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens suspended the department’s K-9 unit in its entirety after an internal investigation revealed they were excessively speeding while on a trip.

Chief Giddens said that witnesses called and reported that they saw multiple officers speeding on the highway.

Dash cam video revealed that the officers sped to and from a competition that took place in Santa Rosa this past weekend. Santa Rosa is approximately seven hours from Lakeland.

According to Lakeland PD, the dash cams start to record when the vehicle reaches 75 mph.

Chief Giddens expressed concern because at least five of the officers tampered with their dash cams. He said the officers filled up the memory before the trip started.

Chief Giddens said, “I’m embarrassed and very disappointed in the conduct of these officers. We hold every member of this department to the highest standard and expect them to represent our agency with the highest level of professional conduct at all times. In this particular incident, these officers have failed and will be held accountable through the use of our disciplinary policies.”

Chief Giddens said the officers have taken responsibility for their actions, but cannot take back the embarrassment they have placed on the agency or their colleagues.

“As law enforcement officers we must always respect the amount of the trust that the public places in us and always lead by example,” said Chief Giddens.

Lakeland PD Public Information Officer Gary Gross, said, “They’re going to have to rebuild their image, and the Lakeland Police Department is going to have to work harder to explain to the public that we don’t have a double standard.”

The officers reached speed in excess of 100 mph, and some were tailgating other drivers.

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  • Johnnysayno

    Had a Marion County Sheriff’s deputy tailgating me the other day on 484. The difference between Lakeland and the Marion County Sheriff’s office is that Billy Woods would pat his deputies on the back for doing something like this. He didn’t even take action against the deputies they caused the accident to killed two people. But two counties over this very thing happened and an innocent woman was killed and that department immediately took action. Mcso is a joke and has been since Eargle. Good for Lakeland for taking action. Cops are not above the law.

  • Karen M

    i think you are wrong! Sheriff Woods doesn’t cut his dept. any slack! He ALSO, would not fire an officer based on the ‘narrative’ of one citizen with a grudge against L.E.O.’s !

    • tomfromocala

      You are joking right? And it is not just one citizen. And I saw SEVERAL people commenting on another fb page about deputies tailgating. AND, i have personally witnessed a deputy on pine street turn on his lights and siren as a light turns red, run the light, just to pull into walgreens. Not because he was on a call, but because he stopped to buy an energy drink. had that clown caused an accident, he would have said he was on a call and the other driver would have been cited for not yielding to an emergency vehicle. (this has happened btw) They give a bad name to first responders who follow the book to a T.

      • Karen M

        How would you know what the LEO bought in Walgreen’s unless you followed him?

  • phil

    Par for the course. Not surprised by the act or by people defending the “can do no wrong” mcso. Still annoyed we passed a tax for cars that werent needed. But, they look great.

    • Johnnysayno

      Yes sir. They should have spent the money on body cameras.

  • Ron

    I am a solid supporter of law enforcement but they have far too much power. Cuffing innocent people because they are afraid.. if you’re afraid of pulling a car over get a job at WalMart . The abuse of power is rampant all over the country.

  • DOUBLETAP

    I see this kind of thing going on all the time it’s not just one department it is all of them I travel in a lot of county’s and city’s and I see it all over it isn’t just Lakeland but suspending the whole department of K-9’s that don’t seem to smart what if they need these Dogs to do a job like a lost child or older person or even a bad guy and we all know how good these Dog’s are and are needed .. He may be punishing those officers but he also is punishing us the public not to mention all the money tied up in all the Dogs and there training that there seems like a big waste I think that is not the way to handle it if you want to punish someone fine them hit them in the pocket book bust them down a pay grade make them do extra duty wash and clean all the patrol cars eachweek for three or four months with no pay anything but don’t suspend the K-9’s they are needed a lot more than using them for punishment that just don’t make any sense !

  • Tom Smith

    So, question – every man in the photo is a criminal? Every one of them is guilty of reckless driving, endangering the lives of others? And they did it while in uniform and on duty? Basically, joyriding, the very thing they chase down teenagers for doing?

    We are supposed to honor, respect, and trust these guys?