TIFTON — The Georgia State Patrol Post in Tift County has a new commander.
Sergeant First Class Peter Lukas assumed command of GSP Post 13 in September of 2018.
He oversees nine troopers and three non commissioned officers covering Tift, Berrien and Cook counties.
“I always wanted to get into law enforcement,” he said. “I always knew I wanted to be a trooper.”
Lukas has 14 years of law enforcement experience. He joined GSP in 2008 after serving six years active duty in the U.S. Air Force and four years in the Florida State Patrol.
“We moved here in 2009 after I graduated trooper school,” he said. “My wife is from Coffee County, so after we went down to Florida for awhile we realized that we wanted to get closer to her family.”
He said that as post commander his main concern was decreasing fatalities on the road.
“Last year our fatalities were kind of high with 19,” he said. “This year we’re doing really good. We’re down 77 percent on fatalities. This time last year we were at 12, this year we have three.”
Lukas said that he credits his troopers with helping with the decrease.
“I’ve got some young, proactive guys that are really aggressive but professional, really love their job,” he said. “They really understand the goals of the department and they see a need to reduce crashes and fatalities.”
Lukas said that not being on cell phones and obeying the speed limit will help prevent people from becoming a statistic.
“I know everybody thinks for some reason we give 10 miles over, but that is not true,” he said. “Try to go the speed limit because every mile an hour over that posted speed limit, your chances of getting hurt or killed jump up quite a bit.”
He added that making sure people are wearing seatbelts is important even though some people don’t like to.
“We’ve got to wear them,” he said. “We know that seatbelts save lives, we’ve got to use them.”
He said that it’s good to have the reins and be able to do things that will benefit the community.
“I have a vested interest here in our community,” he said. “My wife and kids and family drive on the same roads that we patrol. It’s good knowing everyone in our local community and keeping everyone safe.”
Lukas said he believes strongly in his troopers being involved in the community.
Post 13 takes part in Suitcases for Kids, Toys for Tots, Relay for Life as well as speaking at DUI classes and local schools. Lukas said that he has a good working relationship with other local law enforcement and has worked with most of them over the last 10 years.
“I just want people to know that I’m local,” he said. “This is their patrol post. If they have any complaints or good news about what my guys are doing out on the road, if they want to come by and voice some concerns in our community and things they would like us to possibly do, the door’s always open.”