James Gress graduated from Bethlehem Catholic High School and DeSales University. In 1987 he attended and graduated from the Allentown Police Academy. He came to the Allentown Police Department in Spring of 2002 with prior police experience and was assigned to the Patrol Division with the 3rd platoon. In August of 2005, he was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division as a detective, and in late 2007 was assigned to the Office of Police Administration to oversee the department’s compliance with the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation program.
He also served as a 10-year member of the Crisis Negotiation Team and worked his way up to commander of the unit. In February 2011, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and from 2015 to 2019 he organized and operated the annual Citizens Police Academy Classes which introduced citizens to the world of policing. In 2019, he developed and instituted the first ever Senior Citizens Police Academy to educate seniors about the latest scams and frauds and to give them a glimpse into the world of policing. He also researched and implemented the latest technology through numerous state, federal and local grants, including the body worn cameras project.
In February 2020, he was promoted to Captain of Police Administration, overseeing the state (PLEAC) and National (CALEA) accreditation programs as well as the digital evidence unit and the Office of Professional Standards and in December 2021, he was promoted to Assistant Chief of Support Services. He also helps as an instructor at the Allentown Police Academy and serves on the committee for the Municipal Officers Education and Training Commission to develop continued education for current police officers. He also serves as treasurer of the Police Athletic League Board and assists with fundraising activities for the Honor Guard and the K-9 Program.
He has received two Commendations: one for bravery and one for the Crisis Negotiation Team as a unit commendation. Additionally, he is a car enthusiast and is credited with creating the successful Classics and Cruisers Car Show which is held annually on Hamilton Street in the downtown Allentown.
City of Allentown - 435 Hamilton Street - 610-439-5999