James R. Craze
Chief of Police A few months prior to an IACP election, the Police Chief magazine publishes statements from candidates within which the contender explains why he or she should earn your vote. This is my statement – it can’t be done, at least not within the 750-word limit set by the editor. It would take more space than permissible to discuss in any meaningful detail even one of the many complex issues facing the law enforcement community. There isn’t time or opportunity to sit with each reader of this article, let alone each member of the IACP, to discuss what is important to you, how in your opinion the association can advance the causes of the law enforcement community, or how I may, or may not, be the person you wish to have represent you for three years as a vice president at large.
Candidate for IACP Vice President at Large
It is possible, however, to provide a glimpse of my personal history and qualifications and to mention what I believe to be law enforcement’s most pressing issue regardless of where we call home.
I came to policing through a fouryear tour of duty as an Air Police K-9 handler in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era. Upon discharge, I was fortunate to be offered a job as a police officer with the City of Greenbelt, Maryland, which is located within the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The 69-member agency is nationally accredited.
After I had served 13 years, primarily in the patrol division, and advanced to the position of patrol division commander, our police chief of two years suddenly resigned. By virtue of my recent graduation from Session 146 of the FBI National Academy and the University of Maryland, I was appointed acting chief. Following a nationwide search, I was offered the job, a position that I have proudly held for 23 years.
As a newly minted chief, I sought out organizations that would provide an introduction to other police executives. During those early years, it quickly became evident that professional association is the foundation for success and growth in our profession.
During my career, I have had the honor of serving as president of our state and county police chiefs’ associations where I continue to maintain active memberships. I also belong to many other professional groups too numerous to mention.
Those experiences prepared me to move on to the national level where I have served in the trenches of the IACP for nearly a decade, first as Maryland’s SACOP representative for four years, then on the Executive Committee as the representative for the states of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland for the past six. I also serve the association as a member of the Foundation Board of Directors, the Financial Review Committee, the Investment Subcommittee, and the Committee on Committees. Until my announcement for this position, I was a member of the Election Commission. I am a proud life member of the IACP. It has been through these appointments that I have been introduced to the complex, diverse, and dynamic operation of the association.
By virtue of these assignments, I have gained an appreciation of the operation of the association from a perspective different from my view as a member. I have experienced firsthand the diligent manner in which the elected officers and staff go about their fiduciary responsibility in keeping the association solvent and relevant to the membership. Given an unlimited budget the IACP could tackle every important issue to law enforcement executives, but this is not realistic in these financially constrained times, which brings me to what I believe to be our most pressing challenge as CEOs of our agencies—meeting public expectations with ever-dwindling financial resources.
There is no greater threat to service delivery than our economic uncertainty. There is some indication that it will drive crime, stress every social program, and impact the quality of life for every community almost without exception. Programmatic cuts to training and prevention programs such as DARE and school resource officers are common. Furloughs and reductions in force are a fact of life in many places. The forces that strain our agencies do likewise to our association.
My pledge to you as police executives is to keep the IACP relevant to you by helping maintain a sound business plan that will carry the association through hard times. This will require a vigorous review of budget expenditures and investment vehicles, matters with which I have extensive experience.
If you agree, I would appreciate your support in Denver.