LAKELAND – Chief Larry Giddens, of the Lakeland Police Department, raised his right hand to be sworn in as President of the Polk County Police Chiefs Association Thursday evening by State Attorney Brian Haas.
Giddens, Florida Polytechnic Police Chief Richard Holland, Auburndale Police Chief Chris Nelson and five other directors were sworn in at the association’s 35th annual meeting at the Lake Mirror Center. Holland was named vice president, and Nelson was named Secretary and Treasurer.
After being sworn in as president, Giddens thanked his staff and credited them for always having his back. He acknowledged the sacrifices each officer makes daily, adding that he feels “pride and admiration” to work alongside them.
Giddens also referenced three integral factors that keep departments like his and others in the county running smoothly: unity, communication and teamwork.
“We have to have all three of those working together to make sure we’re able to provide the very best law enforcement services to our community,” he said Monday. “Since the State Attorney’s Office is an instrumental part of what we do, it was only natural to ask Haas to administer the oath.”
Haas gladly accepted the invitation.
Prior to the oath, four members of law enforcement were recognized as law enforcement officer of the year:
– Detectives Maria Sorenson and Jeffrey Bradford from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
– Sgt. Joseph K. Parker from the Lakeland Police Department (LakelandPD).
– Lt. Gerald Dempsey from the Lake Alfred Police Department.
Three people received distinguished service awards: Master Police Officer Stephen Rusich from the Winter Haven Police Department, Sgt. William Reall from the Bartow Police Department and Deputy Robert Bryant from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
“I was honored to administer the oath of office to the officers of the Polk County Police Chiefs Association. The partnership between law enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office is critical,” Haas said. “We are thankful for the hard work and dedication of law enforcement in our community.”
Footage of the ceremony can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/LakelandPD/videos/10155009295885159/?pnref=story