Captain Gress was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and graduated from Bethlehem Catholic High School in 1984. It was during his high school years that he became involved in public safety and developed an interest in Policing. After high school he worked as a police dispatcher until he enrolled in and attended the Allentown Police Academy and graduated at the top of his class in fall of 1987. He also attended DeSales University for Criminal Justice Administration and became employed as a Police Officer soon after graduating from the police academy.
In early 2002, he joined the Allentown Police Department and began his career in the Patrol division. In early 2005 he was transferred to Criminal investigations Division as a detective and in fall of 2007 was transferred to the Office of Police Administration to oversee the department’s compliance to the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. He also began to acquire federal and state funding opportunities for the use of technology and additional officers within the department. He was selected as a member of the Crisis Negotiation Team in June of 2010 and eventually worked his way through the ranks to become the Commander of the team in December of 2016 until September of 2020. Since 2005, he has served on the Police Athletic League Board as Treasurer and assists with fundraising activities for the Honor Guard and the K-9 program as well.
In February 2011, he was promoted to rank of Sergeant and assigned to Police Administration. He also organized and operated the annual Citizens Police Academy classes from 2015 to 2019, which introduced citizens into the world of policing. In 2019 he developed and instituted the first ever Senior Citizens Police Academy which educated seniors about the latest scams and frauds and also introduced them into the world of policing. Jim’s extra responsibilities include working as an instructor at the Allentown Police Academy, where he instructs cadets on several topics. He also currently serves on the committee for Municipal Officers Education and Training Commission, where he develops required continued education and training annually for officers throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
In February of 2020, Jim was promoted to rank of Captain of Police Administration, overseeing the state (PLEAC) and National (CALEA) accreditation programs as well as digital evidence unit and the Office of Professional Standards.
Jim enjoys spending time with his family and his pets and is an avid car enthusiast. He is credited with creating the successful Classics and Cruisers Car Show, held annually in downtown Allentown on Hamilton Street.
Captain Gress has become an intricate part of the day to day operations of the Police Department and is proud of the men and woman that serve, as well as the goals and accomplishments that have been achieved. He has become an active part of the community and looks forward to serving for many more years.
City of Allentown - 435 Hamilton Street - 610-439-5999