Lincolnton Police have named an 18-year veteran of the force as the departmentâ€™s new crime prevention and training officer.
Lt. Kent Lukach said his goal in the position is to expand and improve the departmentâ€™s training. He also wants to continue the LPDâ€™s current crime prevention programs and add new ones soon.
Lukach believes police departments are only as strong as their weakest officers, and if those officers are trained to their fullest, the organization will only improve.
“I have been there, done that,” Lukach said. “Now itâ€™s time for me to teach the officers to go there and do that.”
Roger Whitley, director of Gaston Collegeâ€™s Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy said in a written statement that Lukach has the knowledge and “legitimacy” to train others.
“He was a fantastic rookie school student and has been a great instructor for our academy for many years,” Whitley said.
Lukach became an instructor in 1991 and started in a leadership role in 1993 after being promoted to the rank of sergeant.
In addition to being on patrol for 18 years, Lukach has been a police K-9 handler, graduated from the FBI academy and served as a law enforcement officer in the former Soviet Union on an exchange program.
Before becoming a police officer he served in combat as a U.S. Marine in Beirut, Lebanon.
His experience in different divisions of the LPD make him qualified to assess training needs and to implement them, he said.
“The phrase that goes, â€˜Your employees are your greatest assetâ€™ needs to be changed when it comes to police work,” Lukach said. “It should read, â€˜Your well-trained employees are your greatest asset.â€™ I plan on having officers here trained properly and trained often.”
Retired police Chief Terry Burgin said there are two things you canâ€™t fake in police work â€” leadership and knowledge.
“You either lead, follow or get out of the way, and you either know it or you donâ€™t,” Burgin said. “And during my administration Kent proved to be both a great leader and a knowledgeable instructor.”
And current police Chief Dean Abernathy is confident in Lukachâ€™s qualifications and dedication as an instructor.
“This department has history of being well trained and I think heâ€™ll fit right in as an instructor to keep that tradition going,” Abernathy said.
Lukach said he plans to continue to work with the departmentâ€™s R.U.O.K initiative â€” a program that calls senior citizens each morning to check on their well being â€” and the Adopt-a-Cop program, which places officers in elementary school classrooms.
He also plans on revealing several new programs in the coming months.
Reach Lukach at 704-736-8900.by Alice Smith