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Chief Sammy L. Taylor, Jr. has more than 33 years of law enforcement experience and has been with the department since 1989. During his tenure, he has worked in or supervised almost every division within the agency.

Chief Taylor was hired in February 1989 and was promoted to Sergeant in 1997 where he supervised officers in the Uniform Patrol Division and the Criminal Investigations Division. Sam was promoted to Lieutenant in December 2002 and has served as a Lieutenant in the Uniform Patrol Division, 911 Emergency Communications and the Criminal Investigations Division. In 2015, Sam was promoted to Captain, overseeing the Special Operations Division and then transferred to supervising the Investigative Services Division. In 2019, Sam was promoted to the rank of Assistant Chief. As Assistant Chief he provided direction for the Special Services Bureau responsible for personnel and services including: SWAT, K-9 Unit, School Resource Officers, Traffic, DUI Enforcement, Red Light Cameras, Crime Prevention, 911 Communications, Planning and Research, Recruiting and Training before transferring to oversee the Criminal Investigations Bureau.

On December 1, 2022, City Manager Shawn Sherrouse officially appointed Sam as the Police Chief for the Lakeland Police Department.

During his career, Chief Taylor has been selected for leadership positions or served as representative on multi-jurisdictional task forces, including with Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and State Attorney’s Office.

Chief Taylor graduated from Polk Community College in 1981 with an A.A. degree, and the University of South Florida in December 1993 with a B. A. in Criminal Justice. He received his Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a concentration in National Security issues from Troy State University in December of 2002.

Chief Taylor continued on to complete the Certified Public Manager course and received the CPM designation from Florida State University in 2009. He is a 2011 graduate of the Southern Police Institute (SPI) at the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY and a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forums’ Senior Management Institute for Police at Boston University.