LAKELAND, Fla. - Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack spent more than two hours addressing community concerns over a sex scandal involving on duty officers as well as a separate incident where a male officer is scene on dash cam video directing a woman to shake out her bra during a traffic stop.
"We are embarrassed by that fact that you, the community, would have any thought of having to lose trust," explained Chief Womack.
Womack, who addressed county commissioners earlier Monday morning regarding the same issues, also apologized to the nearly 100 people in attendance.
On the heels of a dash cam video showing one of Womack's male officers directing a female to shake out her bra during a routine traffic stop, which made national headlines, the state attorney released a report that 10 officers were investigated for having forced and consensual sex with a 13-year civilian employee of the department during the last seven years.
"I am not only disturbed by the employees choosing to do these things but I am also appalled," Womack told the crowd.
"Where there is smoke, there has to be a little bit of fire," said Lorrie Del Walker, a resident.
The chief told residents that the actions of the officers involved in the sex scandal were moral ones, not ones that resulted from training.
"They've tarnished their badges," she said.
As for the search techniques showed on the dash cam video, Womack said that is not a technique taught to officers, but is a training issue.
She said not only will she not tolerate the technique, but she will not tolerate the humiliation of women.
"Have a chat with me about how I feel about humiliating women," she told residents.
Many of the residents in attendance told the chief they supported her, including Ellis Hirsch, a former Miami police officer who has called Lakeland home for the past two decades.
"We are picking on the chief who got here two years ago," said Hirsch. "This started back when [Roger] Boatner and [Sam] Baca and everybody else was here."
To the applause of the crowd, the chief told residents when the investigations wrapped up, she would discuss the details of each case.
She also said she would not be influenced by the media to divulge any information before that time.
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