James Kruger has been a police officer for the past 34 years and a chief of police for 11 years. He is currently the chief of police for the Village of Oak Brook.
Kruger attended Judson University after Staff and Command School, graduating with a bachelor's and highest distinction. Jim then went on for his Masters degree in business managerial leadership at National-Louis University. Jim also teaches as an adjunct professor at Judson University, where he has helped to develop and currently heads up the Criminal Justice Program.
Scope and responsibilities of current role?
"I am the chief of police for the Village of Oak Brook and an Illinois Certified Police Chief. The Police Department is made up of 40 full-time sworn, 9 non-sworn, and 9 part-time auxiliary sworn of the most dedicated and professional people I have had the honor to lead. I have the overall responsibilities to lead, direct and mentor our staff while serving the community and assuring the quality of life. I also serve as a vice president for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police."
What is your favorite part of your daily duties?
"Law enforcement always has been a people business. The best part of my job is coming to work every day and having an impact on the quality of life of the people you work with and the people you serve. I love when one of our staff members comes to me with a concern or a new idea and I can help facilitate a solution or empower them to develop something new that make us a better agency."
Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?
"Absolutely. That is why I am such a huge proponent for higher education in law enforcement. It has made all the difference in my life and career and given me opportunities that otherwise I would not be where I am today. The skills I learned in problem solving, the business case studies, as well as oral and written communication changed the way I do my job and the outlook I have. Everywhere I've had the opportunity, I have increased the relevance of education by making it a prerequisite for taking the entrance exam or the quality points received on a promotional exam."
Do you have any advice for people who desire to pursue a similar career?
"One of the things I love to do is mentor young people thinking about a career in law enforcement. I first explain to them that they have to toss out most of what they've seen in TV shows and understand that we are a service organization that is also the most visible representative of local government. I make a strong case for staying in school and coming on the job with a bachelor's degree in hand. Those skills I mentioned before are ones that will lead to better understanding, less citizen complaints, and better police officers. We want police officers who can problem solve and communicate well out in the community."
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