Tony Kirk

After moving to the Lakeland area and finding himself unexpectedly jobless, Tony Kirk plans to stay put. “God put me here for a reason,” he told the Topeka Capital-Journal Friday night after withdrawing from a job as Lakeland’s assistant police chief that he was supposed to start on Monday.

Kirk decided not to take the job after it was learned that he lied early in the application process when he said he has not smoked marijuana. The discrepancy was revealed when he said during a polygraph test that he tried pot when he was 20.

“It’s unfortunate,” Kirk told the newspaper in Topeka, where he had spent most of his career and been deputy chief. “We put our hearts and souls into this opportunity.”

Kirk was to be paid $122,000 a year for the Lakeland job. Police chief Larry Giddens told The Ledger the city would try to recover the money it spent to move Kirk and his family to Lakeland; the city had agreed to pay up to $13,000 for moving expenses.

City Manager Doug Thomas said in a press release, “This is a very unfortunate incident and we were looking very forward to Kirk joining our team but our law enforcement personnel are held to a high standard and as insignificant as it may sound, inaccuracies between his application and the polygraph process automatically disqualifies a candidate to move forward.”

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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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