Lake City officers dismissed

LAKE CITY – An officer on the Lake City Police Department has been dismissed, the second termination to happen there since January.

Dana Cook’s removal from duty was the result of alleged violations of city and departmental policies, according to Lake City Police Chief Bobby Rist. Rist declined to comment further on the reasons for Cook’s dismissal, but said the Calhoun County sheriff’s office is conducting an investigation.

“Some things have come to light, but I can’t discuss those,” he said.

Rist isn’t expecting charges to be filed in Cook’s case, but he also isn’t able to say for certain what will happen.

According to Rist, Cook’s case is not connected to the dismissal of Lukas McCollough, another former officer who has been charged in a criminal investigation in Greene County.

Charges against McCollough include first-degree harassment, tampering with a witness, bribery and suborning perjury, according to online court records.

He’s accused of threatening a woman in Greene County. Criminal complaints filed against McCollough say he tried to get someone to lie to investigators.

McCollough also allegedly offered $1,000 to a witness to get them to admit to a crime.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial is scheduled for May 14.

For now, Rist said the Lake City Police Department is trying to move forward.

The firings have left the department with only two certified police officers. Rist said they hope to hire two new officers soon.

“We tested the other day and have a couple of candidates,” he said. “They’ll file their paperwork and we’ll work on training them.”

He added that the department’s image has suffered following the two recent incidents.

“We’ve got to work diligently and harder to improve the public’s perception of us,” Rist said. “When you tarnish the badge in one locale, everyone thinks everybody on the department is doing it.”