Steve Otto Columns
Otto: Even Sgt. Tuesday can't solve Lakeland's seedy saga
"This is the city: Lakeland, Florida. It's a tough town; its streets and boulevards are like road marks in the annals of crime. "It's not a town for the faint of heart. Its lights and hustlers could be Vegas or LA, but they are harder, brighter...the stuff broken dreams are made from... I work here. I carry a badge. My name is Tuesday. "It was 9:22 a.m., Monday, July 29. It was raining in Lakeland; a wet, soggy rain that dampens the spirits of the bad as well as the good. My partner, Buck Horn, and I were working vice, when a call came in requesting us to return to headquarters for a 10-14. "Could you 10-20 that?'' I said on the radio. "We just left headquarters on a 10-12 and already had the orders for six glazed and six assorted.''"At 9:28 a.m. we returned to headquarters, minus our order. The captain was waiting.'' "Tuesday.'' "No, sir, I believe it's Monday.'' "I mean you, Sgt. Tuesday. Step into my office...Tuesday, I assume you recall that incident last week on the 402-675136?'' "Yes, sir. You mean the incident involving the search for drugs hidden in two .38s? The one where the .38s involved in the shakedown were not guns but the woman's ...?'' "That's the one...Well, it seems the case has expanded.'' "It has?'' "Yes. It now includes an investigation involving 20 officers here in the department, a couple of judges, some city workers, three clerks and a pumpkin.'' "A pumpkin?'' "Tuesday, this whole thing is seedy. Today is Monday and I would like a report from you on Wednesday. "I have to make a report to the new Lakeland Police Advisory Commission. The old one resigned this morning.'' "Sir, would it be possible to put together a team to help me in the investigation? This weekend is the Polk County bowling tournament and...'' "Sorry, Tuesday. All of our officers have been suspended. You and Officer Horn will have to handle it.'' "Yes sir, but 'S..E..X' is something we don't usually deal with. If you recall sir, those incidents a few years ago when several of our officers went over to Hillsborough County where they have those naked hoochie coochie girly shows and...'' "Listen, Tuesday. You don't have to whisper. I know nothing like this has ever happened in Polk County before and especially here in Lakeland. Just give me the facts.'' "The facts?'' "Yes, just the facts.'' v vIn a moment, the results of this investigation. On Aug. 1, 2013, the Lakeland Police Department was dissolved and police operations turned over to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. The name "Lakeland'' was changed to "Naughty City'' by order of the governor and all interstate exits were sealed off. Distraught, Sgt. Tuesday and officer Horn accepted new jobs as security officers at Legoland. Stay tuned for another story next week on....Lakenet!