Allentown police car 2020

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Allentown Chief of Police Charles Roca today announced the promotion of two department captains to the rank of assistant chief.

Michael Becker and Jim Gress replace recently retired assistant chiefs Bill Lake and John Hill.

"The department will miss both Bill Lake and John Hill," Roca said. "I wish them the best in their retirements."

He said of Becker and Gress, "Both gentlemen are consummate professionals. I look forward to working with them in bringing the department forward."

Becker has received five commendations: one for valor, one for bravery, two for achievement and one for merit. He was a 10-year member of the Emergency Response Team, half of which time he spent as a team leader. He is also a combat veteran, U.S. Army National Guard, having served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Gress has acquired a considerable amount of state and federal funding for the police department to improve its use of technology and community policing. He was a 10-year member of the Crisis Negotiation Team and eventually worked his way through the ranks to become the commander. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in February 2011.

Gress also organized and operated the annual Citizens Police Academy classes from 2015 to 2019, which introduced citizens to the world of policing. In 2019, he developed and instituted the first Senior Citizens Police Academy to educate seniors about the latest scams and frauds.

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