Lakeland Police Department launches Citizens Advisory Board

In this time of national unrest over race issues, the Lakeland Police Department is launching a new Citizens Advisory Board.

“It is just one more avenue we have available for folks to come forward and interact with the police department and the city as a whole,” said Lakeland Police Chief Ruben Garcia.

The board will review interactions between police and citizens, bring community issues to light and evaluate new programs. It will be made up of nine members, seven appointed by city commissioners, one by the city manager, and one by the chief of police.

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Commissioner Phillip Walker is hopeful.

“Moving forward, we will see some change,” Walker said. “We will see some things come out of the board and its meetings to say what they think should happen and how we can improve our relationship between the community and the police department.”

The names of the members have not been announced yet. The first meeting is expected to be in a month or so.