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Lakeland Police Officer Arrested for Making False Report with the Department of Children and Families

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On Monday, September 23, 2019, Will Long was terminated from employment with the Lakeland Police Department for violating the General Orders of Unlawful Conduct and Conduct Unbecoming.

Original Release:

LAKELAND, FL (September 20, 2019) – On Friday, September 20, 2019, a warrant was issued for the arrest of 47-year-old William Long, who was hired as a Lakeland police officer in 2001, for one count of making a false report (F-3) with the Department of Children and Families. Long turned himself in to the Polk County Jail without incident.

On May 28, 2019, the Lakeland Police Department received a complaint involving Officer William Long. The complaint surrounded a pattern of conduct by Officer Long that was related to an on-going child custody issue he was involved in. Allegations made in the complaint led to a criminal investigation that was conducted by members of the Lakeland Police Department Criminal Investigations Section.

Upon review of the initial investigation, it was determined that on May 20, 2019, Officer William Long contacted the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Child Abuse Hotline to report concerns of child abuse/child neglect while his child was in the care of a babysitter utilized by the child’s mother. Officer Long used his personal cellular telephone to place the call, and a recording of the call was obtained by detectives who are familiar with Long and recognized his voice. Officer Long stated on the recording that he wished to be anonymous and did not report his name and status as a Law Enforcement Officer as required by Florida Statute 39.201. He stated he observed unexplained scratches on the child’s back and a puncture wound on his hand.

On May 21, 2019, an investigator from the Department of Children and Families responded to the babysitter’s residence where the alleged abuse took place. The DCF investigator met with the child, and the babysitter, and observed no evidence or indications of child abuse. As part of normal investigative protocol, the investigator contacted Officer Long by telephone and it was determined to be the same number as the one used to make the anonymous complaint. Officer Long told the investigator at that time that he had no concerns about the child’s welfare while the child was in the care of the babysitter.

It was determined that Officer Long contacted the DCF Abuse Hotline with a high level of concern about the well-being of the child while in the care of the babysitter. Less than 24 hours later when contacted by the Child Protection Investigator he stated he had no concerns regarding the safety of his child while being cared for by the babysitter.

Officer William Long was charged with one count of making a false report of child abuse, abandon or neglect to the Department of Children and Families. This is a violation of Florida Statute 39.205, which is a 3rd Degree Felony. Through his attorney, he chose not to speak with detectives.

Long has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. He is currently paid an annual salary of $70,898.

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