Wayne James. Photo by Jim Krause


As we enter into election season, I can’t help but encourage everyone to VOTE. Your vote is representative of your VOICE and each and every one of us (over the age of 18, that is) is entitled to have that voice be heard LOUD and CLEAR. We each have a vote, which grants us equality, but unless we take advantage of this right, some voices are not heard. Your forefathers fought for this right, just as you are fighting today; do not let their fight be wasted on you.

These are unprecedented times. Unless you have been living on the high seas, devoid of all interaction with the world, you have witnessed as I have the unrest, distrust, and uncertainty plaguing this country. I have witnessed firsthand the pain our communities are in. From the Black Lives Matter movement to the proposed defunding of local law enforcement agencies. All of this is happening while we are living through a worldwide pandemic.

As a proud black man who grew up on the streets of Gary, Indiana, and as a proud law enforcement officer with over 17 years of experience, I, too, am troubled by the current climate and am challenged to navigate race relations at a leading institution of higher education. What is important to remember is that this is not a sprint, it is a marathon. The road to success is always under construction (just like the highways across the state) and we must build a strong foundation if we expect it to last.

Indiana University, and more specifically the Indiana University Police Department, committed some time ago to reimagine public safety. The Indiana University Police Department creates a safe environment through respectful, fair, and impartial policing and community engagement. The men and women of our agency embrace this mission as they serve the communities statewide.

In my opinion, this agency has improved its standing and is THE leader in diversity and inclusion, and shares what it has learned with other agencies so they, too, can improve communities across the state. We do not do this alone; we do this in collaboration with our community—that includes YOU.

In order to effect change, everyone needs to be involved. I urge you to learn as much as you possibly can about the candidates up
for election from local to national government. Find out what these candidates have in common with you and your thoughts. Take a peaceful stand. Make sure your voice is heard, VOTE, and help make OUR communities stronger.

VOTE like your vote makes a difference to your prosperity and survival and to that of your family, your children, and your children’s children, as well. Your vote can make a difference! VOTE.

Wayne James is the assistant vice president for law enforcement operations, diversity, and community engagement and deputy superintendent for the Indiana University Police Department. He serves as director-at-large for the International Association for Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and on the mentoring panel for the International Association of Chiefs of Police.