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Posted on: July 20, 2022

New city police chief, staff promotions

Chief Greg Goreck

Haines City manager announces staff promotions

 Haines City - City Manager Jim Elensky announced several personnel changes today. Elensky hired long-time Polk County law enforcement officer Gregory L. Goreck to be the city’s new chief of police. Goreck was born and raised in Polk County, graduating from Lake Wales High School in 1994.  Goreck comes from a well-respected law enforcement family; which includes his mother, father, step-father, uncle, brother, and sister-in-law, all of whom have served the citizens of Polk County as law enforcement officers.  In 1992, prior to graduating high school, Goreck began his law enforcement career as a Law Enforcement Explorer with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. 

In July of 1996 he was hired by the sheriff’s office as a deputy sheriff, where he served the citizens of Polk County for the next 26 years.  In 2018, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd promoted Goreck to the rank of captain and assigned him as the commander of the Southeast District.  In this assignment, he worked hand-in-hand with the city leaders of Frostproof, Eagle Lake, and the Town of Dundee; all of which partnered with the Sheriff’s Office to provide municipal law enforcement services.  

Most recently Goreck was assigned as the commander of the Bureau of Support Operations; which is comprised of the Aviation Unit, Marine Unit, K-9 Unit, Environmental Crimes Unit, Traffic Section, Animal Control Section, and Agricultural Crimes Unit. 

 “I am humbled and honored for the opportunity to lead this great department. It is no accident that Haines City was recently named one of the safest cities in Florida,” Goreck said. “I’m looking forward to working with the men and women who accomplished that distinction.”

During his tenure at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Goreck received over sixty commendations, was named Deputy of the Year, and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal seven times.           

“I am so pleased to hear that Captain Greg Goreck has been chosen as the new Police Chief for Haines City. Greg has had a highly successful and remarkable 26-year career here at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office—knowing that he will be staying in Polk County and applying his outstanding leadership skills for Haines City’s citizens is outstanding” Sheriff Grady Judd Said. “When Greg reached his 25+ year retirement window at the Sheriff’s Office, we knew he would be highly sought after as a police chief. I applaud City Manager Jim Elensky and Deputy City Manager Loyd Stewart for making this important decision about such a critical leadership position.” 

Goreck holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Management from Warner Southern College, a master’s degree in Management from Warner University, as well as a second master’s degree in Business Administration / Criminal Justice Management from Webber International University.  Goreck is a graduate of the Florida State University Certified Public Manager (CPM) program.  Goreck also graduated from Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command, where he was recognized for his outstanding leadership ability and awarded the prestigious Kreml Leadership Award.

“Sheriff Judd has prepared Greg for this next step in his career not only through the exposure to many facets of their organization, but the education and leadership courses he requires of all his staff,” City Manager Elensky said.   “It is that same mindset that will prepare our internal staff here at Haines city to step into the top leadership roles as we continue to move forward and build upon the past.”

Lieutenant Jay Hopwood, a 20-year veteran of the Haines City Police Department, will be promoted to deputy chief of police. He began his law enforcement career as a corrections officer where he served for over three years.  He began his career as a police officer with the Winter Haven Police Department and was hired by the Haines City Police Department in 2002 as a patrol officer.  

He has served as an undercover drug investigator, swat member, detective, detective sergeant, and a lieutenant for fourteen years.  During his time at Haines City, Hopwood has had responsibility for the Criminal Investigations Unit, Crime Scene Unit, Property and Evidence Unit, Patrol Division, C.O.P.’s Unit, K-9 Unit, and the Traffic Unit. 

Hopwood is a graduate of the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute Senior Leadership Program, the Southern Police Institute Command Officers Program, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Florida Executive Development Program and the Tri-City Leadership Academy.  He is a member of the Florida Internal Affairs Investigators Association, the Polk State College Training Advisory Committee.

Additional assignments, to continue development within the police department, include Lieutenant Isaac Jackson who will be assigned as the Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division.  Captain Gabriel Garcia will continue as the Operations Captain with both slated to attend top-tier leadership schools. 

Loyd Stewart, currently the city’s Interim Chief of Police, has been selected to serve as the Deputy City Manager.  Stewart earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from Troy University in 2009 and is a graduate of Warner Southern University with a degree in Organizational Management.   In addition, Stewart is a graduate of the Florida State University Certified Public Manager program, and multiple Executive Leadership courses.  Stewart has been in leadership positions for the past twenty years with responsibilities for strategic planning, policy development, project management, budgeting, analysis and research.  He has experience working with multiple legislative bodies and community organizations.  Stewart has a proven track record leading and completing complex projects with multiple stakeholders including private and public partnerships. 

“Haines City is fortunate to have these individuals who are dedicated to service as we move forward and face the opportunities and challenges ahead. One of my goals as an administrator is to provide unparalleled customer service to our residents. I am confident this team will help us reach that goal. Our police department and city administration are in great hands,” Elensky said.

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