• Instagram Icon
  • Vimeo Icon
  • YouTube Icon
  • Nextdoor Icon
  • Search Icon

Agency Promotions Announced

Captain Steven Pacheco was promoted to Assistant Chief of Police commanding the Neighborhood Services Bureau; Lieutenant Tye Thompson was promoted to Captain and assigned the Special Operations Division Command. Sergeant LeRon Strong was promoted to Lieutenant and elevated to the Officer in Charge position in the Office of Professional Standards. Detectives Laura Dunn and Matt Linton were promoted to the rank of Sergeant and assume supervisory duties in the Uniformed Patrol Division. From the 911 Emergency Communications Center, Communications Supervisor Shanna Lucas was promoted to Assistant Manager of the Emergency Communications Center.
Regarding the promotion announcements, Chief Garcia noted, "Each of the members has established themselves well in their past roles within the agency where they have displayed leadership and commitment to the City of Lakeland and the citizens we serve."
Combined, this group of law enforcement professionals has over 160 years of experience.
Assistant Chief Steven Pacheco

Assistant Chief Steven Pacheco began his law enforcement career with the Polk County Sheriff's Office in 1985 as a Corrections Officer and after two years, he was hired on June 1, 1987 with the Lakeland Police Department. During the last thirty-four years with LPD, he has served as an officer in the Uniform Patrol Division and the Special Tactical Alert Team. He later transferred to the Special Investigations Section where he served as a narcotics detective, intelligence detective and sworn Federal Task Force Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Tampa, Florida.

In January 2000, he was promoted to a Sergeant supervising officers and detectives in the Uniform Patrol Division, the Neighborhood Liaison Section and the Special Investigations Section. In 2012, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and again supervised both officers and detectives in the Uniform Patrol Division, the Criminal Investigations Section and was then assigned as the Officer in Charge of the Office of Professional Standards, where he oversaw the department’s Internal Affairs Unit.

Following a four-year assignment in the Office of Professional Standards, he was promoted to the rank of Captain in 2018 and was assigned as the Commanding Officer of the Special Operations Division which incorporated the Narcotics Unit, Traffic Unit, Motor Unit, K-9 Unit, School Resource Unit, Victim Assistance Unit and the Community Services Unit.

During this time, realizing this division was too large, Chief Garcia instructed the staff to divide the Special Operations Division. As a result, in 2019 the Community Services Division was created and Assistant Chief Pacheco was assigned as the Commanding Officer, supervising the School Resource Unit, Community Services, Victim Services and the newly added Lakeland Police Athletic League.

In addition to the many assignments held by Assistant Chief Pacheco during his 34 year career, he has also pursued his personal passion of teaching department members about their First Responder Mental Health & Wellness. This course is offered to every newly hired police officer and Public Safety Aide and their families. Not only has this opportunity been very rewarding personally, but it has also encouraged department members and their families to better utilize the agencies psychological assistance when needed.

Lastly, Assistant Chief Pacheco has expressed that one of the most rewarding opportunities he has been entrusted to lead are two (2) of the agency’s 501(c)(3) corporations, the Lakeland Police Foundation and the Police Athletic League of Lakeland.

He advised, leading the Lakeland Police Foundation has provided him with the opportunity to guide foundation assets to maintain the Fallen Heroes Memorial, bestow educational scholarships to members and their children, and assist with hardship grants for members affected as a result of illness and/or other family emergencies. Additionally, he advised leading the Police Athletic League of Lakeland foundation has provided him with the opportunity to guide both department and foundation assets, as the PAL team facilitates the many PAL programs serving the youth in Lakeland.

Assistant Chief Pacheco graduated from Saint Leo University with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and also the University of Louisville, Southern Police Institute, Administrative Officers Course, Police Executive Leadership Graduate Program. 
Captain Tye Thompson
Captain Thompson has dedicated his adult life to public service. He began by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps, where he served with the Marine Security Detachment, Marine Barracks, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and later with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California. Following his Honorable discharge from active duty in 1985, he became a Police Officer with the Lakeland Police Department.

Captain Thompson served with LPD from September 1985 to July 1997. His duty assignments during these years were in the Uniform Patrol Division plus several different specialty units, including the SWAT Team, Street Crimes Unit, Special Investigations Division and the K9 Unit.

Captain Thompson was then motivated to take the position of Police Chief for the New London Police Department in New London, Iowa. Captain Thompson’s duties while Chief of Police included hiring of personnel, fiscal management, budget formulation, grant writing and policy development, to mention just a few. During his service to New London, Captain Thompson was responsible for starting a Neighborhood Watch Program, the deployment of the county’s first K9 Unit and the start of the D.A.R.E. Program in the New London School District. The unique experiences as a Police Chief helped to broaden Captain Thompson’s administrative leadership abilities and further shaped his understanding for police administrative responsibilities.

After serving five years with the New London Police Department, Captain Thompson returned to the Lakeland Police Department. He became a detective in the Violent Crimes unit of the Criminal Investigations Division but eventually returned to the K-9 unit, where he became a K-9 trainer. Captain Thompson was a member of the SWAT team for 13 years. In 2012, Captain Thompson was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and was tasked with supervising the K-9 unit and the Traffic unit. His diverse history of leadership, management, and work in specialty units of the agency have proven a valuable resource for the Lakeland Police Department.

In January 2020 Captain Thompson was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and was immediately assigned as the Officer in Charge over the Office of Professional Standards where he has served since.

In 2011, Captain Thompson graduated with High Honors from Barry University with a Bachelors Degree in Public Administration.

He serves alongside his son, Officer Colton Thompson, who is currently assigned to the Neighborhood Liaison Unit.

Captain Thompson has an accumulated 35 years of law enforcement service. His police management skills and professional experiences will provide guiding influence for the department’s operational needs, as well as strengthening the relationships between today’s young officers and our community.
Lieutenant LeRon Strong
Lieutenant LeRon Strong was born in Bartow, Florida, where he graduated from Bartow High School. He then went on to Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL, on a football scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

Lieutenant Strong started his law enforcement career in 1991 with the State of Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco as a Special Agent and worked in that position for five years. Lieutenant Strong came to LPD in 1996 and started his LPD career. In his twenty-five years at LPD, he started his service as a Patrol Officer, and has served in other areas of the police department as a Neighborhood Liaison Officer, in the The Repeat Offender Unit (R.O.P.E.S.), as a Narcotics Detective, and on the Federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (H.I.D.T.A.), where Chief Garcia at that time was his Sergeant over the unit. Lieutenant Strong has also served as a Field Training Officer.

In 2009, Lieutenant Strong was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, where he has served as a supervisor over Patrol, the Narcotics Unit and has spent the last eight years supervising the Office of Professional Standards (Internal Affairs).

Outside of work, Lieutenant Strong attends First Providence Missionary Church, Bartow, FL. where he serves as an Associate Minister, and is an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Lieutenant Strong has enjoyed his thirty years in law enforcement, and is grateful for the opportunity to serve the community in his new assignment.
Sergeant Laura Dunn
Sergeant Laura Dunn was raised in Bartow, Florida, where she attended Bartow Senior High School, and graduated from Polk State College, earning her Associate of Arts degree and an Associate of Science degree.

She began her law enforcement career with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in 1997, initially as a civilian and in 2000, became a Deputy Sheriff. During her tenure as a Deputy Sheriff, she was a member of the Patrol Division and served 8 years in the Traffic Homicide Unit. She was also certified as a Field Training Officer, Master Rifleman, and a Master Deputy. She received her instructor certification where she has taught at the Polk State College Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety specializing in Radar/Laser Speed Measurement, Vehicle Operations, and Precision Immobilization Technique (PIT).

In 2013, she left the Polk County Sheriff's Office and joined the Lakeland Police Department. During her 7 years with the Lakeland Police Department, Sergeant Dunn served in the Uniform Patrol Division and was a field training officer for the department. During the last 5 ½ years, Sergeant Dunn has been assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division where she served as a detective for Property Crimes, Special Victims, and the last 3 ½ years in the Violent Crimes/Homicide Unit.
Sergeant Matt Linton
Sergeant Matt Linton is a native to the Lakeland area where he graduated from Kathleen High School in 2000 and received his Associates of Arts degree from Polk State College in 2003. Fulfilling a calling in law enforcement, which started with his father, who spent a career with the Florida Highway Patrol, he attended the Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety. Matt graduated with class BLE 08-03 where he obtained his Florida Law Enforcement Standards. In 2009, Matt began his law enforcement career with the Lakeland Police Department.

During his tenure at the Lakeland Police Department, he has served as a member of the Uniform Patrol Division, Street Crimes Unit, Special Investigation Section, and his most recent assignment as a Detective in the Criminal Investigative Services.

He has also given his time as a Field Training Officer, a member of the SWAT team and a member of the Honor Guard.
Shanna Lucas
Assistant 911 Communications Manager
Shanna began her Public Safety career in June 1991, hired as an Emergency Communication Specialist for the Lakeland Police Department. During her tenure, she served as a Certified Training Officer. While Shanna was a dedicated member of the Department, she also desired to start a family. After serving ten years, she resigned from her position with the Lakeland Police Department and accepted a position at St. Luke’s Christian Academy & Preschool as a Director. She created policies and procedures for staff and was responsible for the facility’s overall daily operations and curriculum guidelines required by Polk County School Board. Under her direction, she managed to maintain a high enrollment of students with minimal staff turnover. While she served well within the organization for five years and enjoyed the many challenges of children’s development, her love for Public Safety continued and never left her heart.

In 2006, Shanna decided to return to her first love of Public Safety. She started in a part-time capacity to see if she was up to the challenge after being gone for five years. She took a great leap of faith in 2008 and accepted a full-time position as an Emergency Communication Specialist.

Shanna came back full speed and has been an intricate part of most aspects of the Communications Section. In 2014, Shanna was promoted to Communication Supervisor and assigned to nightshift Charlie Squad, where she led a team of 10 dispatchers. It became her second family away from home.

In August of 2019, Shanna was selected to head up a new program as an instructor of the Telecommunications program at Bartow High School. Since its inception in 2019, Shanna has expanded the program into two classroom periods. The addition of classes required her to shift to dayshift. Thanks to her dedication, the program went on to receive Accreditation as a part of the Bartow High School Criminal Justice Academy in 2020.