LAKELAND, Fla. — Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens announced his retirement on Monday.
The City of Lakeland received the official retirement notice from Giddens Monday morning, which is effective February 4, 2019.
Giddens served the city for 34 years and was sworn in as Police Chief in March 2015.
“This day is bittersweet, Larry is more than a fantastic public servant, Chief of Police and leader within our organization and community…he is a great friend to me,” City Manager Tony Delgado said. "Larry has been pondering this decision for weeks and I selfishly discussed options that would hopefully keep him as Lakeland’s Chief of Police. However, I understand that there are opportunities in life that present themselves and even though we are going to miss him as our dedicated Chief of Police, we wish him well as he starts a new chapter outside of the organization he grew up in.”
“It has been an honor serving the great citizens of Lakeland but the day has come for me to hang up my gun belt after 34 years of service," Giddens said. "It was a life-long dream to serve as Lakeland’s Chief of Police and I certainly believe that when I officially walk out of the door, the Department is in great shape to continue as one of the finest Police Department’s in the country. I am so proud of the work that our officers, emergency communication specialists and our civilian members do every day. I am blessed to have worked side-by-side with some of the very best in the business.”
Delgado said they will now be evaluating the Department and reviewing the organization's current succession plan.
"Chief Giddens has done a fantastic job transforming the Department and we have a group of very talented and dedicated employees within the Assistant Chief ranks who will help us get through this transition period,” Delgado said.