Born and raised in Hellertown, Jim Connell has always cared about the local community. That commitment to helping others was evident in the career choices he made even before becoming a Lehigh police officer five years ago.
“Prior to starting my career at Lehigh, I was a 911 dispatcher for Northampton County, and worked as a part-time police officer for Moore Township and Hellertown Borough,” says Connell, a graduate of the Allentown Police Academy. “I’ve been with Lehigh five years, and have attended numerous schools and training programs offered by accredited departments and schools to better my education and career as a police officer.”
Connell was recently named the university’s seventh Officer of the Year, and was honored with a ceremony celebrating his accomplishments.
The award, announced by LUPD Chief Ed Shupp, was the result of a unanimous decision by a selection committee that also included Tom Dubreuil, associate dean for Campus Living and Student Involvement; Ozzie Breiner, director of residential services, Mary Jo McNulty, Human Resources specialist; and Greg Schulze, director of facilities for Athletics.
Quick to assist and to take the initiative
“As a corporal in the Investigations Unit, Jim does not hesitate to take the initiative to follow up on a variety of situations including safety, criminal charges and investigations,” Shupp says. “Cpl. Connell is well-respected by his peers and is sought out for advice relating to an arrest or investigation and offers help with reporting.
“As a liaison for the department, he is frequently requested to speak to groups on social policy issues. Despite the heavy work load in the Investigations Unit, Cpl. Connell also takes the initiative to be active on the road and assists patrol officers when needed. He is quick to report suspicious activity in the area and reaches out to make connections in the community.”
Connell has also worked in the patrol unit and in the community police unit. He is married and enjoys riding four-wheelers with his two daughters.
He says he was humbled by the recognition.
“It was an honor to be recognized by my peers for my effort and dedication to the Lehigh community and the police department.”