A Bellevue man with more than three decades of law enforcement experience was to be appointed Jackson County chief deputy sheriff last Tuesday morning.
Jim Kraker, 58, was tapped for the position by Sheriff Brent Kilburg. The Jackson County Board of Supervisors acted on the appointment during its weekly meeting Jan. 12.
Originally from Wisconsin, Kraker came to Iowa after 30 years of police work in Grand County, Colorado.
He was part of Grand County Search and Rescue, was hired as a deputy with that county’s sheriff’s office and attained the rank of patrol sergeant.
The Granby Police Department hired Kraker in 2005 to develop the department from its conception. He retired as Granby police chief.
“I thought this was a great opportunity to serve the area with some of the skills that I have,” Kraker said.
As chief deputy, Kraker will oversee operations at the sheriff’s office he said.
“My philosophy is problem-solving,” Kraker said. He intends to review current Jackson County Sheriff’s Office operations and suggest improvements and efficiencies.
A large part of his job will focus on development and training, as well as attracting and retaining quality deputies, he said.
Kraker looks forward to helping “guide, tweak, move things,” especially during this time of transition.
His unfiltered view of the department will be a benefit, he said.
“I can go into (my role) with fresh eyes because I don’t know anyone or their background,” Kraker said.
That fresh look is what the new sheriff sought.
Kilburg acknowledged there was “good potential” for a chief deputy among those already working in the sheriff’s office.
“But with the improvements I want to make, I sometimes think it would be cleaner if you had someone who didn’t have those previous ties, those previous relationships, previous culture already built into them,” Kilburg said, adding that Kraker’s experience will be a benefit for further developing officers.
“I just felt he was really a good fit for what I’m looking for,” the sheriff added.
Before starting his law enforcement career, Kraker worked in the logging and mining industries in Colorado and Wisconsin.
He and his wife, Renee, have been Bellevue homeowners since 2018 and have two adult children who live in Colorado.