Born and raised in Seattle as one of nine children, Jim grew up knowing the value of hard work.
After graduating from high school, Jim attended the University of Washington while working as a steelworker, Greyhound bus terminal worker, and Rainier Brewing bottler. Organized labor continued to play a major role in Jim’s life as he pursued his education, started a family, and bought a home in Seattle on a cop’s salary in 1982 – something Jim recognizes is not possible in today’s Seattle and is dedicated to fixing.
Throughout his childhood, Jim was inspired by stories from his cousin who worked in law enforcement and spoke about serving and protecting his neighbors. After graduating from the University of Washington with a BA in Political Science and English, Jim started what would be a 34-year career in public safety and project management as a volunteer reserve officer with the Seattle Police Department. In 1983 he was hired full time and went on to serve as Captain and Assistant and Interim Police Chief.
While serving as a Captain Jim worked with the Downtown Emergency Service Center in developing pre-recovery housing. Committed to reducing jail intake – particularly for non-violent offenders, young people, and those with acute mental health and addiction issues, Jim later helped lead a Harvard Kennedy School of Government Executive Session on Community Corrections, focusing on ways to better integrate released offenders, as well as reducing overall incarceration of people. He has spoken nationally and internationally on police and drug policy reform.
While an assistant chief and interim chief with Seattle Police Department, Jim was the department’s executive sponsor working closely with numerous community groups, non-profit organizations, and government groups in establishing the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program where low level, non-violent drug users, dealers, and sex workers are given a chance to divert to treatment and other care at point of arrest instead of being put in jail. LEAD was the first program of its kind in the western hemisphere and has since been replicated in numerous jurisdictions.
After 31 years with the Seattle Police Department, Jim served as Chief Deputy at the King County Sheriff’s Office. In 2017 Jim fought non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma while being treated at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
Jim is currently a board member for School’s Out Washington and the Women’s and Men’s Rowing board at the University of Washington. He has served on the Washington Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice focusing on alternatives to incarceration for youth. He graduated from the FBI National Academy in 1997, the Senior Management Institute for Police at Boston University in 2002, and the Cascade Executive Management Program, Evans School of Public Policy, at the University of Washington in 2006.
Jim is an outdoor enthusiast who has climbed Mt. Rainier six times, and nearly every other volcano in Washington and Oregon. He lives in Seattle with his wife and golden retriever, Peppercorn. Together, they enjoy kayaking in the waters in and around Seattle. Jim’s three adult children and two grandchildren also live in Seattle.