Officer James Ghrist, 34, enjoys helping keep his community safe through his position as Drug Abuse Resistance Education and Crime Prevention Officer with the Munster Police Department.
A Munster native, Ghrist completed a bachelor’s degree in 2000 at Purdue University Calumet and a master’s degree in public safety administration from Calumet College of St. Joseph in 2010. He also attended the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield.
“As I was growing up, I always had respect for police officers, especially my D.A.R.E. officer, Terry Jostes, when I went through D.A.R.E. in fifth grade at Elliott Elementary School,” Ghrist said.
Ghrist now assists the department in teaching the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program to 2,000 students each school year at five local elementary schools.
“I believe that the D.A.R.E. program has allowed our students to get to know our police officers in a positive way, and reminds them that we are here for them if they ever need our assistance,” he said.
“Support from parents who are serving as good role models for their children and who are guiding them in the right direction is crucial as well.”
A member of the Muster Police Department since 2000, Ghrist became Crime Prevention Officer in 2005, recruiting volunteer Crime Watch captains and initiating Crime Watch meetings every three months at the Munster Town Hall.
“Eight years later, we have over 100 active Crime Watch groups and thousands of active participants,” he said.
Ghrist also implemented a Business Crime Watch Program in 2007 that now involves more than 100 Munster businesses and churches.
“These meetings are important so that we can keep the public informed about what is going on, while also providing them with another way to let us know about their concerns and questions,” he said.
A 2012 Munster Police Department Distinguished Service Award winner, Ghrist especially enjoys participating in the National Night Out Against Crime.
Celebrated annually for 17 years in Munster, the event is designed to promote police and community partnerships.
“Each year our event attracts almost 2,000 people to the Munster Community Pool throughout the evening.”
“Residents, businesses, and community service organizations actively participate by volunteering their time, planning the event and providing donations.”
A member of the CHOICE Community Council, Ghrist enjoys playing men’s softball and is the father of twin boys. His own twin, Officer Peter Ghrist, is employed by the Griffith Police Department.
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