| ||James R. Craze|
Chief of Police
Greenbelt, Maryland, Police Department
Candidate for Vice President at Large
t is not often that a candidate for the office of vice president at large has the opportunity to view his or her candidacy from the perspective of an incumbent. Having been elected by the membership to serve the unexpired term of Chief Patty Patterson (Ret.), I enter this election with an advanced understanding and appreciation of the role and responsibilities of the office. I am both pleased and humbled to seek a full term as a vice president at large for which I ask for your support.
By virtue of my years of service to the organization, I have had the honor of meeting many of you. For those who I have yet to have the pleasure, I am the chief of police for the City of Greenbelt, Maryland, a suburban community of 22,000 souls located in Prince George’s County, Maryland, 10 miles north of Washington, D.C.
My journey to this point in my career is likely similar to that of most of you. I served four years in the military as a U.S. Air Force Air Police canine handler. Upon my return from service, I was hired as an officer with the City of Greenbelt, Maryland, Police Department where I have served my entire career. I was promoted to chief of police in 1986. I am a graduate of the University of Maryland, the146th Session of the FBI National Academy as well as the 29th Session of LEEDS. I am a past president of our state and county police chiefs associations. The Greenbelt Police Department attained national CALEA Accreditation with Excellence in the fall of 2012.
Serving in a variety of appointed and elected positions within our association over the past ten years has been the highlight of my law enforcement career. During this time, I have observed tremendous innovations within our profession and a commensurate growth of the association’s ability to serve its membership. The IACP has been at the forefront of emerging trends by providing research, guidance, and direction to its members. As an example, without question one of the most significant of these developments was the support of the D-block by Congress, through direct interaction by the IACP leadership and other key public safety entities, which provides needed communications interoperability after 9/11.
The IACP is the preeminent global representative of police executives. But in order for it to be effective and remain vital and relevant, members must step forward to become active in the organization. The size of the agency you represent is irrelevant; whether it has a few employees or thousands. The length of time you have been in your law enforcement executive position does not render you more or less qualified to serve. The key is a desire to serve your profession and to help lead this organization in our rapidly changing world.
The IACP is the comprehensive professional organization that “Serves the Leaders of Today and Develops the Leaders of Tomorrow.” The association serves its membership by developing and showcasing progressive law enforcement practices in the form of new technology, administrative initiatives, best practices, and benchmarking. Leaders of tomorrow are developed through the Center on Police Leadership and the Police Chief Mentoring program. It is to this aspect—developing the leaders of tomorrow—that I offer this challenge. It is often said “be the change you want to see.” The association needs you to step forward to give of your talent and expertise.
It may seem odd that I am devoting my candidate statement as a call to service to my law enforcement colleagues, but the reality for the IACP Board of Officers is that even as we are moving through these elected offices, we are actually moving out of our terms of service. Every year, members of the IACP sections and committees and members of the IACP Board of Officers will leave their positions as new leaders take their seats. This change helps keep this organization fresh.
There is no question that participation in the association involves an investment of time and financial resources, sometimes personal in nature. Meetings and conferences will take you away from your agency and family and may require extensive travel. Make no mistake—participation in the IACP is demanding. But it is vitally important that new leaders step forward every year to take on the work of our profession and our association.
As I look back over my service to the organization, I cherish the time spent with colleagues as a member of the Executive Committee, the Financial Review Committee, the Election Commission, the State Association of Chiefs of Police (SACOP), the Foundation Board of Directors, and as a judge of the Webber Seavey Excellence in Policing award and the many visits to Capitol Hill on behalf of the organization to lend our voice to vital law enforcement initiatives. I look forward to the next challenge armed with the experience gained from my past and current service.
This will be my final election with the IACP, and I anticipate that, should I be elected, this position will be my capstone role with the IACP. I look forward to the challenges ahead, and I hope to be able to continue in my service to you, our noble profession, and this fine association. But more importantly, I urge every one of you to look for opportunities to serve in the International Association of Chiefs of Police. ♦