“The railroad is part of the city of Altoona. This is how Altoona came to existence. I take pride in being a railroader and I take pride in protecting, educating and teaching our community about the rail.”

Chief Jesse James was born and raised in the Chippewa Valley.  He is a 15-year-plus veteran of law enforcement and, in 2018, was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing District 68. He started his career in April of 2001 with the Spring Valley Police Department as a part-time officer.  He also worked with the Elmwood Police Department and the Altoona Police Department.  In December of 2002 he was offered a full-time position with the Altoona Police Department.

He has been with the City of Altoona ever since and worked seven years as a night shift patrol officer.  He was the first officer in Eau Claire County to be offered a position on the the Eau Claire County SWAT team.  He became a Law Enforcement Standards and Board Firearms Instructor in November 2007.  In October of 2009 he was assigned to the position of Investigator.  Chief James led several high-profile investigations, some of which went to the federal level, where he has testified in front of a grand jury. Chief James was acting Police and Fire Chief from April 2011 until September 2011.  He maintained his position as an Investigator until October 2013 when he accepted the position of Police and Fire Chief.  He is a graduate of the Leadership in Police Organizations and First Line Supervisor programs.

He has also worked with staff to educate the community regarding the railroad traffic in the City of Altoona, including the creation of a city ordinance to address trespassing on the railroad.

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