Last week’s Polk County Tiger Bay Club meeting, at which State Attorney Jerry Hill was the featured guest, was one of the organization’s most interesting yet.
Hill, carefully staying within the bounds of not trying to tell Polk’s cities how to do their jobs, made it clear that in his opinion, it is past time for a change in leadership in the Lakeland Police Department. He is correct.
The LPD scandal has few precedents in Polk County’s political history.
Lakeland’s government has dug in its heels in defense of the status quo in the police department. It is still waiting to figure out what happened.
Reading newspaper accounts or watching TV reports would solve the mystery, but only the other 599,990 or so of Polk County’s approximately 600,000 citizens have chosen that option. Lakeland’s political leadership has insulated itself from these revelations.
Nothing we can say will open their eyes.
Another question fielded by Hill is of perhaps greater importance to the rest of Polk County.
An inquiry submitted from the audience questioned the effectiveness or propriety of Sheriff Grady Judd’s propensity for highly publicized online stings to attract and arrest sexual predators who take the bait from sheriff’s deputies who represent themselves as pre-adolescents ripe for sexual encounters.
Hill’s response was that the sexual predator stings are drawing proportionately more out-of-state perps and fewer Polk, Hillsborough and Orange county predators. Our neighbors are getting the word: keep out.
And that, to Hill, is good news.
Indeed, Polk County has staked out its claim as an island of sorts in a sea of sexual misconduct.
Major highways passing though Polk are dotted with establishments catering to the “adult business” trade just beyond the county line, Hill said.
But Polk is establishing itself as an oasis which rejects online moral turpitude.
Is Imperial Polk swimming upstream against the flow of conduct that your parents taught you was wrong? Perhaps.
If so, we can only say: keep swimming, Grady; most of Polk County is behind you.