Former TPD Deputy Chief pulls application with Florida department over use of marijuana

Tony Kirk. (KSNT File Photo)

LAKELAND, FL (KSNT) – Former Topeka Deputy Police Chief Tony Kirk on Friday withdrew an application as Assistant Chief of the Lakeland Police Department in Florida over inconsistencies involving his use of marijuana decades ago.

The City of Lakeland’s Director says Kirk was scheduled to start as Assistant Chief on Monday, March 2nd but withdrew early Friday morning because of inconsistencies between his written application and the results of a polygraph test on his use of marijuana when he was 20 years old.

Kevin Cook says Kirk had stated during a background check of his written application for the job that he had never used marijuana. However, while undergoing a mandatory polygraph test he admitted to trying the drug when he was 20 years old.

Cook, in a written statement noted “the use of marijuana so many years ago would not prevent employment with the Lakeland Police Department. However the inconsistencies between the new hire forms and his later admissions regarding marijuana use triggered concerns.

Kirk began his law enforcement career in Topeka in 1987 and rose through the ranks from patrol officer in 1990 to Deputy Chief in 2012. Most recently he served as Interim Chief before the appointment of Chief James Brown in October, 2014.

In the release, Lakeland City Manager Doug Thomas noted “..we were looking forward to Kirk joining our team but our law enforcement personnel are held to a high standard and as insignificant as it may sound, inaccuracies  between his application and the polygraph process automatically disqualifies a candidate to move forward.”

Lakeland Chief of Police Larry Giddens noted that “I’m deeply disappointed that we came so far and this is an unfortunate conclusion to what I thought was going to be a very good addition to our team at the Lakeland Police Department.”

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