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Lakeland PD chief Lisa Womack placed on leave

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LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) - Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack has been placed on paid administrative leave.

This comes after Womack resigned on January 24th.

Related content: Lakeland Police Chief Womack resigns

City Manager Doug Thomas issued a statement Thursday evening saying he took the action based on a copy of the “Investigative Summary from the State Attorney’s Office regarding their review of the hiring practices used for a 2012 Lakeland Police Department Public Safety Aide position.”

The report, Thomas says, raises serious allegations against Womack “regarding potential violations of Florida Statutes involving Official Misconduct, in addition to alleged deviations from Lakeland Civil Service and Personnel Policies and Procedures.”

READ the full report here.

According to the report, the State Attorney's Office got complaints that Womack "altered the governing Civil Service Rules and LPD selection process" to try to get her nephew, Rhett Hughes, hired as a public safety aide in 2012.

The report further states that after Hughes received a failing grade on a portion of his exam, LPD officials started questioning the results.  The State Attorney's report alleges that Womack's husband called Assistant Chief of Police Charles Thompson about Rhett Hughes failing his test.

Then, the report say Chief Lisa Womack "acted beyond the scope of her authority" and decided to pass all PSA candidates to the next phase, regardless of performance.

However, Hughes did not show up for the physical abilities test and other parts of the interview process, telling Captain Victor White that he could not get time off work.  The State Attorney's Office report states that Womack later told White that she pulled her nephew from the hiring process.

Hughes was not hired by the department.

The City of Lakeland will review the allegations to find out if any violations of policies have occurred.  Thomas says the State Attorney's Office has closed their investigation into the matter.

Assistant Chief Larry Giddens has been appointed as acting chief of police pending the outcome of the investigation.  Giddens released a statement saying:  "
I want to assure the citizens of Lakeland that the men and women of the Lakeland Police Department will continue to deliver professional police services as we move through this transitional period."
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