Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens, 55, announced today he is leaving the police department on Feb. 1 after 34 years and is accepting an undisclosed employment opportunity. Here is a news release from the city of Lakeland followed by Giddens’ resignation letter to City Manager Tony Delgado:

The City of Lakeland received the official retirement notice from Police Chief Larry Giddens effective Feb. 1, 2019.  Giddens has served on the Lakeland Police Department for 34 years, advancing within the organization. He was named interim police chief in February 2014 and served at that role for one year before being officially named police chief in March 2015.

City Manager Tony Delgado said, “This day is bittersweet; Larry is more than a fantastic public servant, chief of police and leader within our organization and community … he is a great friend to me.”  He added,  “Larry has been pondering this decision for weeks and I selfishly discussed options that would hopefully keep him as Lakeland’s chief of police.  However, I understand that there are opportunities in life that present themselves and even though we are going to miss him as our dedicated chief of police. We wish him well as he starts a new chapter outside of the organization he grew up in.”

Giddens said, “It has been an honor serving the great citizens of Lakeland but the day has come for me to hang up my gun belt after 34 years of service. It was a life-long dream to serve as Lakeland’s chief of police and I certainly believe that when I officially walk out of the door, the department is in great shape to continue as one of the finest police departments in the country.  I am so proud of the work that our officers, emergency communication specialists and our civilian members do every day. I am blessed to have worked side-by-side with some of the very best in the business.”

Delgado said, “For the next steps going forward, we will evaluate the department and review the organization’s current succession plan.  Chief Giddens has done a fantastic job transforming the department and we have a group of very talented and dedicated employees within the assistant chief ranks who will help us get through this transition period.”

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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