Communication Builds Our Community

Citizens Police Advisory Board Holding First Public Forum Oct. 26

The Citizens and Police Community Relations Advisory Board will hold its first public forum at 6 p.m. Monday Oct. 26 at the B Street Center.

Due to the COVID-19 virus, attendees must wear masks and have their temperatures checked upon entrance. About 20 seats will be available to accommodate social distancing, so participants may be rotated into the meeting to offer five minute comments.

The Lake Wales City Commission re-established the committee in August with the following purposes:

- Providing a forum for citizens to express their opinions about police procedures and to receive informal information from the police department regarding police procedures.

- Providing a forum for citizens and the police department to openly and respectfully discuss issues of concern with the hope that concerns can be positively resolved.

- Providing a forum for citizens and the police department to engage in a dialogue that will be positive and productive and that will continue to foster a climate of trust and mutual respect.

The former three-member committee, including two citizens and one police officer, met quarterly and was disbanded in 2017. The new committee will meet at least monthly and has six members, including one police officer and five members, each hand-picked by the mayor and four commissioners.

Committee chairman Andy Oguntola said the committee will hold meetings throughout the city, taking notes about comments within each district and ultimately preparing a report to City Manager James Slaton and city commissioners.

"Please know our goal should be to strengthen 'our community' in the best matter possible with innovative ideas and concepts that will create an efficient impact with community input," Oguntola wrote in promoting the forum.

He said new community liaison police officer Ed Palmer will be on hand to receive any citizen complaints. State law prescribes a procedure for departments to receive and investigate complaints.

Deputy Chief Troy Schulze represents the Lake Wales Police Department on the committee. Citizen members include:

- Oguntola, nominated by Mayor Eugene Fultz. An administrator with Polk State College, Oguntola currently serves on the Lake Wales Charter Review Committee. He is board chairman for the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council and vice chair of the Lake Wales Arts Center and Lake Wales Main Street and a Trustee for the Lake Wales Charter Schools.

- Dwight Wilson, appointed by Deputy Mayor Robin Gibson. Wilson is a consultant to nonprofits, foundations and municipalities with more than 20 years of government experience. He has been an adjunct faculty member for Polk State and Eckerd College and has a master's degree in public administration. He currently serves on the city's Code Enforcement Board.

- Narvell Peterson, nominated by Commissioner Terrye Howell. Retired from the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Peterson has in the past served on the city's Code Enforcement and Planning and Zoning boards. He also has served as president of the Dr. Martin Luther King Committee and the B Street Community Center.

- Jim "Mo" Moyer, appointed by Commissioner Al Goldstein. Moyer is retired and a past chairman of the Lake Ashton Homeowner Association board. He has been active with organizations related to military POWs and MIAs and with the U.S.O. of Central Florida.

- Tiffany Davis, appointed by Commissioner Curtis Gibson. Retired from the U.S. Army and preparing to open the Wales Pointe restaurant downtown, Davis is a member of Rotary on the Ridge, Lake Wales Heritage and the Lincoln Community Development Corp. Education Committee.

"I truly hope that when this work is complete each Board member can walk away with their head high, and say 'I did my very best by listening, hearing, digesting, and welcoming all opinions and comments, as we move forward towards unification for our districts and City,'" Oguntola wrote.


Reader Comments(0)