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Lakeland PD officer accused of making false reports of child abuse against his son's babysitter

Posted at 9:23 PM, Sep 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-20 23:32:07-04

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Lakeland Police Department arrested one of its own for allegations of making false reports.

On May 28, Lakeland police responded to a complaint involving officer William Long, 47. The complaint surrounded "a pattern of conduct by Officer Long that was related to an [ongoing] child custody battle he was involved in," according to Lakeland police.

According to Lakeland Police, Long contacted a child abuse hotline with his personal cell phone to report abuse while his child was in the care of a babysitter hired by the child's mother. Long told the hotline that he wanted to maintain his anonymity, even though state law requires all law enforcement personnel to identify themselves. In that phone call, he said he found unexplained scratches on the child's back and a puncture wound on his hand.

When the Department of Children and Families responded to the babysitter's home, investigators with DCF could not find any evidence of child abuse, Lakeland police said.

After the investigation, the DCF called Long and that was how Lakeland police found out the officer was using his personal cell phone to make a false abuse report.

Lakeland police said Long first contacted DCF's abuse hotline with a high level of concern about the child's well-being when the child was with the babysitter. When DCF called Long less than 24 hours after the original call, he told investigator that he had no concerns about the well-being of that same child.

Long was charged with one count of making a false report of child abuse, abandon or neglect to the Department of Children and Families. Lakeland police placed Long on administrative leave. He had been with Lakeland police since 2001.