Lieutenant Matt Pavelka grew up in rural Tama County and graduated from Union High School in 1997. He went on to attend the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and graduated in 2001 earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology and Sociology. He then began his career in law enforcement as a deputy with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office in May 2002. Matt graduated from the 189th session of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in December 2002. He was assigned to the Correctional Center until the fall of 2009 when he transferred to the Patrol Division. Matt worked in the Patrol Division until he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in the fall of 2012 and assigned to the Correctional Center. He continued that assignment until the fall of 2014 when he transferred to the Detective Bureau. Matt worked as a Detective until he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in August 2017 and was assigned to the Patrol Division. He was the Assistant Patrol Commander from August 2017 until he was transferred back into the Correctional Center in October 2021. Matt is currently one of the Lieutenants assigned to the Correctional Center. In July of 2018, Lt. Pavelka graduated from Northwestern University Center for Public Safety – School of Police Staff and Command (SPSC #436). In 2019, Lt. Pavelka completed the National Command & Staff College receiving his Criminal Justice Commission for Credible Leadership (CLO) and is a National 4-Star Credible Leader (CCL).
Lt. Pavelka has been a member of the Sheriff’s Special Response Team (SRT) since 2010 and is currently the Team Leader. Lt. Pavelka has been an instructor for the A.L.I.C.E. program (active shooter training) since 2013. He is also a firearms instructor, an arson investigator and a Remote Pilot in Command (PIC) for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS).