LAKELAND, Fla. - The Lakeland Police Department scandal seems to show no signs of slowing.
The I-Team has learned the State Attorney’s office has dropped charges against 38 suspects, most of them involving DUIs, after two officers admitted putting false information in DUI reports.
The I-Team has also obtained exclusive recordings of the officers in the center of the scandal, from interviews conducted by an investigator with the State Attorney’s office.
Sgt. Ray Lloyd was one of the officers questioned.
“Was this in fact a violation of how you’re expected to process your paperwork at the Lakeland Police Department?” an investigator asked.
“Not only that, but how I expect myself to be handled,” Sgt. Lloyd said.
The suspects whose charges were dropped include Aaron Hodges, who was arrested for his third DUI.
Officer David Edds told investigators he only put false information in a report three or four times. He said he would partially fill out a DUI report after an arrest, then return to complete the report days later. However, he admitted to putting false dates on the updated reports.
Both officers said they were never ordered by a superior to put false dates on reports, but they did it to speed up the paperwork process. Officer Edds said he wasn't trying to deceive anyone.
“You need to get your paperwork as quick as possible and you need to be back on the street, so that we can rely on you to handle these DUI investigations,” said Officer Edds.
Now, dozens of DUI suspects have had their charges dropped, and the State Attorney’s office says they’re looking into at least two other cases. Both officers told investigators they regret their actions.
“These mistakes will never be made again,” said Officer Edds.
Both officers have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
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