City council appoints James Belcher as new Gardner police chief
The governing body appointed James Belcher as chief of the Gardner Police Department during the July 1 city council meeting.
Belcher has been a member of the department for 21 years, first serving as a public safety officer. Throughout his tenure, he climbed the ranks, including serving as a lieutenant, administration captain and patrol captain. In those roles, Belcher oversaw the investigation division, training, budget, contract management, scheduling, customer service functions and patrol services.
Belcher also served as the interim police chief for eight months in 2014 and 2015 and for two months in 2019. “Captain Belcher has served honorably as interim police chief and has demonstrated through his leadership, integrity and judgment that he is well-prepared to assume the role on a full-time basis and to lead the police department forward,” said City Administrator Jim Pruetting.
Belcher holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Central Christian College of Kansas. In 2013, he received the Award for Valor from the Kansas City Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriffs Association.
“I am honored to serve as the new police chief for the Gardner community, my home of 21 years,” said Belcher. “We have a wonderful team serving in our police department, and it is a privilege to continue to work alongside them as we successfully continue our mission to protect and serve.”
Belcher replaces former Police Chief Jim Pruetting who retired in April after 35 years in law enforcement to serve as Gardner’s new city administrator. Belcher’s permanent move to the police chief role is effective immediately.