Nine Lakeland residents have been appointed to a new police advisory board; one is a former police sergeant and the others have worked with youth as professionals or volunteers. The LPD Citizen Advisory Board will discuss new agency programs, past police/citizen interactions and provide feedback on community needs.
Each of the seven city commissioners appointed a member. The other two were appointed by City Manager Tony Delgado and Police Chief Ruben Garcia.
The city solicited applications for the board in March, well before the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month focused new attention on police operations.
The members were listed in a Lakeland Police Department news release that included one- and two-sentence bios:
Gregg Bostick is the director of operations for Saddle Creek Transportation and also serves as a Polk County Early Learning Coalition Event board member. Appointed by Mayor Bill Mutz.
Dr. Sallie Brisbane-Stone is the owner of Well-done Events and Compass Smart Solutions. She is involved with many civic organizations, including the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Central Florida Business Diversity Council, the Lakeland branch of the NAACP, and the Lakeland History and Culture Committee. Appointed by Commissioner Stephanie Madden.
Gretchen Ceranic is the children, youth, and families director for the Shepherd’s Community UMC. She has lived near Lakeland Linder International Airport for 18 years and is involved with Guardian Ad Litem, an organization that advocates for children who have experienced abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Appointed by Commissioner Sara McCarley.
James Ring is the owner of Ring Roofing Inc. and has previously served as a Lakeland Police sergeant. He has participated in Leadership Lakeland, Leadership Polk, and the Public Leadership Institute of Polk County, and is a graduate of the 260th Session of the FBI National Academy. Ring is also a Chief Warrant Officer in the US Army Reserves. Appointed by Commissioner Scott Franklin.
Veronica Rountree has served in organizations such as the Neighborhood Association Coalition, Guardian Ad Litem, and served as a chaplain, a freelance writer, and as a certified behavioral health technician. She has lived in the Valencia Heights neighborhood in North Lakeland for 24 years. Appointed by Commissioner Phillip Walker.
Demetrius Haynes works as a foster care advocate with Integrity Care and has contributed time working with the Polk County School Board as a para-substitute. He works with teenage boys in the foster care system as well as teaches theater classes at the Coleman Bush Building. Appointed by City Manager Tony Delgado.
Dr. Shandale Terrell is an educator with the Polk County School District. He has served as a Committee Member for the City of Lakeland Citizens’ Advisory Budget Committee, the City of Lakeland Gang Task Force Committee, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Advisory Council. Appointed by Delgado and Police Chief Ruben Garcia since Commissioner Bill Read deferred to staff.
Tom Williams owns two businesses and has worked in the timber and building supply industries for over 30 years collectively. Involved with Strong Tower Church and Parker Street Ministries, he works closely with the youth in the Parker Street neighborhood and works with local homeless ministries. Appointed by Commissioner Chad McLeod
Stephen Young has served as a board member of South Lakeland Baseball, and the School Advisory Council at Scott Lake Elementary. He has two locations of 7-11 convenience stores in Lakeland after serving eight years in the Marine Corps. Appointed by Police Chief Garcia.
“Moving forward, we will see some change” as a result of the new committee, Commissioner Phillip Walker told Fox 13 News last week. “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 first meeting is expected to take place next month. Members will discuss goals and objectives then, the department said.
Another Lakeland police citizen advisory committee was formed in 2013 in part to give input on repairing the reputation of LPD following a wave of sex scandals involving department employees.
None of the members of that board were appointed to the new board.
The 2013 committee was formed as a temporary committee with a focused purpose, according to city Communications Director Kevin Cook. It “was put together to review policies and newly initiated procedures set in place after the 2013 scandal that rocked the Police Department,” he said.
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