What do you expect? It's Florida, home of a ton of police officers committing sexual crimes.
By John Chambliss, Jeremy Maready & Rick Rousos
LAKELAND - Police Chief Lisa Womack resigned Friday, two days after a no-confidence vote by Lakeland Police Department employees.
In a message to City Manager Doug Thomas, the chief wrote she was quitting, effective May 1, because it was the best thing for her and her family.
Her resignation comes after a year in which the department faced the most widespread scandal in its history — a sweeping sexual-misconduct investigation — criminal cases fouled by search and reporting procedures, the arrest of an officer on charges he sexually abused and stalked a woman while on duty, and a grand jury investigation into problems with Womack and the department's handling of public records. In all, 27 LPD employees have been disciplined, including about a dozen officers who resigned in lieu of termination and three who were fired.
Thomas said Friday he will conduct a national search for a new chief and that one of the department's assistant chiefs, Larry Giddens or Mike Link, will be appointed interim chief after Womack leaves.
Womack, 48, did not attend the press conference and did not return a phone message.
Despite the recent no-confidence vote, Thomas said during a Friday news conference he never asked Womack to resign.
Thomas said Womack requested to stay until May so she can complete outstanding legal matters at the department, such as grievances and arbitration.
"I don't think many can fault her for her thinking it's time to move on," he said after the news conference. "It's not a surprise it has taken a toll on her personally."