A photo of downtown Pensacola
Front page of a newspaper featuring Chief Tommi Lyter
Courtesy of Councilwoman Ann Hill

Reflecting on three decades of service, Chief Tommi Lyter talks about policing in Pensacola

An article in the newspaper dated 30 years ago features a name we all know and a face still as friendly as today.

At the time, Pensacola Police Chief Tommi Lyter was one of six recruits followed by journalist Allison Smith for a feature piece on their criminal justice training at George Stone Area Vocational-Technical Center. Lyter, who then was just shy of his 21st birthday was quoted about how excited he was to “get on the streets” despite the danger of the job; a sentiment still echoed today.
Police Chief Tommi Lyter at 20 years old

“I have a passion for what I do,” Lyter said. “I love the profession of policing and I can’t imagine doing anything else.” 

Lyter began his career with the Pensacola Police Department when he was hired as an officer in August 1990. He has served the department in numerous capacities like: patrol, investigations, SWAT and K9 unit, just to name a few. He became a sergeant in 2003, promoted to lieutenant in 2006, made captain in 2014 and then assistant chief in 2015. He was appointed Chief of Police in 2017. Lyter said one of his biggest takeaways of his time on the job is that some people are just bad people, but the number of bad people is small in comparison to those who are good.

“Despite what you hear in the news, people are good,” Lyter said. “The vast majority of the population they just want to do good.”

Lyter said that can be easy to forget, especially early on in the career because many of the people police come into contact with during patrols are doing bad things. Lyter said that is why he pushes a community service aspect on new officers now so they do not get that perception. He said that also helps with the way the public perceives officers, though he thinks Pensacola has a more positive view than other places in the country. He wishes more people would appreciate what officers do.
chief tommi lyter

“At the end of the day we’re husbands, we’re fathers, we’re brothers and sons,” Lyter said. “We’re still people and it’s a difficult job. On a good day, it’s extremely difficult and incredibly dangerous.”

Lyter said he hopes to have more years ahead with Pensacola Police Department, but he plans on scaling back so he can spend more time with his wife, Brenda, who is battling cancer.

One thing is certain, Lyter loves his job and keeping the citizens safe. You can expect to continue seeing his friendly face in Pensacola.

Look for his full interview on our YouTube and Facebook page Friday, February 1.

Celebrate Black History Month

February is Black History Month, come celebrate with us

Woodland Heights Resource Center: Monday, February 11 6-8:00 p.m. Black History Month Festival with Meet the Greeks Step Show kids edition.

Cobb Resource Center: Friday, February 22 10:00 am-12:00 p.m. Black History Dinner & Display (Seniors age 50-up). Every Wednesday in February there will also be Taste of Black History from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. with someone bringing a sample dish.

Brownsville Community Center: Friday, February 22 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  “This Is Our Story-The Historic Pensacola” is a day of expression with musical performances, spoken word, guest speakers, art displays, health screenings and light refreshments. Guest Speakers include Rev. Donald Harris, Bennie Washington, and Dr. Marion Williams. A collection of artwork by local African-American artist Erik O'Neal titled "Recreating the Moment" will also be on display. 

Be sure to visit PlayPensacola.com for the most updated list of events. 

Be on the lookout, Lynx Tall Ship is coming

Look for the sails!

The Lynx Tall Ship will be visiting Plaza de Luna from February 5 to March 11.

The Tall Ship Lynx will be offering free tours to the public and dockside history programs for local students.

Tall ship

The Tall Ship Lynx is a non-partisan, educational organization, dedicated to hands-on educational programs that teach the history of America’s struggle to preserve its independence. Students aboard learn the challenges during the War of 1812 through a comprehensive and interactive program designed to enrich personal achievement through teamwork and discipline of sail training. 

Last year, Pensacola was a host port for the Tall Ships Challenge Gulf Coast to the Atlantic Coast 2018. 

Workshop for the Residential Property Improvement Program is coming up

Informational flier on community workshop

Did you know? We offer tutoring

To The Top Tutoring is a program offered for grades K-12 twice a week at the Woodland Heights Resource Center. 


Movement for Change offers this service to help students progress toward advancing to their next grade level or graduation. Tutors meet one-on-one with students and their parents to determine the child’s academic needs and develop a plan for success.

The program is offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and is free.

To register contact John Jerralds at (850) 433-1749. 

Hooray! Gull Point Resource Center will reopen February 4

Gull Point Resource Center

Gull Point Resource Center is reopening on Monday, February 4.

The center has been closed for renovations since May 2018 to update the classrooms, restrooms, front lobby, gym floor, and kitchen area.

Classes will start moving over from the Vickrey Resource Center the week of Feb 4.

Last call for the Pensacola Supplier Diversity Exchange 

INSTAGRAM: Photo of the Week

Be sure to tag us using @cityofpensacola or #upsideofflorida so we see your pic!

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