In a tersely worded editorial, the Lakeland Ledger has called out Lisa Womack, the Chief of the Lakeland Police Department. Last week the Ledger reported that Womack admitted that under her direction the Lakeland PD plays “cat and mouse” games with the media when it comes to public records access. In the editorial, the Ledger correctly points out the hypocrisy of Lakeland’s top cop knowingly violating Florida’s Public Records Act.
While the editorial rightly tears into Womack and to a lesser degree the political leadership of Lakeland, it gives Roger Mallory, the PD’s in-house counsel a total pass. It is my considered opinion that both Womack and Mallory should be terminated for cause.
When you consider that through the admissions of Womack and the absurd legal gymnastics of Mallory we now know that the public can no longer trust the leadership of the PD. Public records access is a constitutionally protected right in this state and access is to liberally construed. Playing games in an effort to limit access is unlawful and in this case, I would argue criminal.
It’s time for Womack and Mallory to go. In the alternative perhaps the political leadership of Lakeland should go if it turns out they lack either the commitment to law and order or the courage to do the right thing.