LAKELAND, FL (July 15, 2013) – Mayor Gow Fields has named the 15 members of the Lakeland Police Advisory Commission that will be co-chaired by Joe P. Ruthven and Dr. Eileen Holden.
Joe Ruthven is a former Mayor of Lakeland and a successful community businessman for more than 50 years He is the founder and owner of “The Ruthvens” and Joe P. Ruthven Investments. Ruthven has also served as Chairman of the Lakeland Regional Medical Center board and Chairman for the Central Florida Economic Development Council.
Dr. Eileen Holden has been the president of Polk State College since 2006. Polk State serves 20,000 students each year and it is home to Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety, one of the few college-affiliated police academies in the nation to earn CALEA accreditation, with excellence. In additional to a distinguished academic career, Dr. Holden has served in leadership and advisory roles on numerous civic, charitable and economic boards.
Members of the Lakeland Police Advisory Commission include:
Dr. Anne Kerr – President of Florida Southern College
Dr. Elaine Thompson – CEO Lakeland Regional Health Systems and Lakeland Regional Medical Center
Frank O’Reilly – Former Mayor of Lakeland and Former Polk School Board Member
Katrina Lunsford – Vice President, Fifth Third Bank
Ana Rivera – President & CEO, Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Polk County
Dr. Jim Sewell – Retired FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement)
Tim Jackson – COO, NuJak Development & Chair-Elect, Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce
Rick Garcia – Owner & President, Gulf Coast Avionics
Dr. Kent Ingle – President, Southeastern University
Myra Bryant – President of the Lakeshore Neighborhood Association and President of Lakeland’s Neighborhood Association Council
Mary Smith – President of the Dixieland Neighborhood Association
Paul Roberts – AP History and AP Government Teacher at Lakeland Sr. High School and Adjunct Professor at Everest University
Bruce Abels – Logistics & Supply Chain Professional, Retired as President of Saddle Creek Corporation after 15 years
Mayor Gow Fields said, “We have assembled an advisory panel of leading Lakeland citizens to review the current situation with LPD and City Hall in light of the State’s Attorney’s report to develop recommendations and benchmarks for making improvements and for holding officials accountable for delivering those improvements.” He added, “The Panel is a diverse group, spanning a range of age, experience, gender, race and political affiliation and I feel confident that they will bring a citizens’ perspective to the issue.”
The advisory panel will conduct their business independently from City Administration with full support to meet with any public officials including but not limited to Chief Womack or any other personnel.
The Lakeland Police Advisory Commission has been charged to define and answer questions concerning the recent controversies involving the Lakeland Police Department and suggest specific actions that can be taken to improve community trust. Specific questions to be addressed by the panel include:
· Does the City and LPD have the appropriate processes in place to address current challenges?
· What can be done to improve the culture within the LPD?
· What can be done to improve citizen trust?
The panel will report back to the Mayor of Lakeland’s office and to the people of Lakeland on their progress no later than 30 days from now with the goal to provide the Mayor and the people of Lakeland with their full observations and recommendations no later than September 16, 2013.