Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

March 10, 2013

Lake Park votes to demote police chief

LAKE PARK — The Lake Park City Council voted Saturday morning to demote the city’s police chief to patrolman and advertise for a new chief, according to a councilman.

The council split 2-2 on whether to move Tim Baker from police chief to patrolman and advertise for a new chief, said Councilman Russell Lane, who voted against the measure.

Mayor Eric Schindler cast the deciding vote, Lane said.

“The Saturday meeting was really a continuation of Tuesday’s meeting,” when the police chief's position was discussed, Lane said. Baker was brought in Saturday and given a chance to answer concerns, he said.

Baker had been appointed police chief in January 2012 by a new City Council after the previous longtime police chief, Burt Rutland, had been dismissed.

Among the current concerns was a situation involving the police department’s lack of a TAC officer, Lane said.

“The city had been without a TAC officer for some time,” he said, “and the chief, in 14 months, had asked (the council) either to authorize him to get TAC training or hire a TAC officer.”

The council failed to take any action, Lane said.

“There are reports that have to be turned in to the state by the TAC officer,” he said. One of the concerns aired Saturday wanted to know why the reports hadn’t been filed, Lane said.

“There’s nothing in the job description that says the chief has to be TAC-certified,” he said.

The Lake Park City Council will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday to hammer out the job description for the new police chief before advertising for the position, Lane said.

Attempts to reach Baker, the mayor and other council members were unsuccessful Saturday night.

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