Wilbert James III
Police officer, recruiting officer, City of Columbus
About: Wil James has been with the Columbus Police Department for 15 years and focuses on recruiting new officers from the community. With the support of the police division he developed the CPD Basketball Boot-Camps, a youth program that partners with Columbus City Schools high school basketball programs to develop skills and create dialogue. He also is the president of the Columbus Police Basketball Team which has raised over $50,000 for local charities. James has a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Ball State University. He lives in Columbus with his partner, Deja Redman, and has two sons, Brandon and Owen, a daughter, Dylan, and a step-daughter, Brielle Smith.
By law, every child in the United States is guaranteed a free public education through the 12th grade. I believe every child deserves equity in that education.
Outside of work: James is involved with the Columbus Police Marauders, Public Safety Corps, CPD Basketball Boot Camps, Diversity Recruiting Council, Commission for Black Girls and the Ronald McDonald House.
What does Columbus need to thrive? The disparities in our inner-city community are directly linked to the disparity and inequity that are evident in our inner-city schools. By law, every child in the United States is guaranteed a free public education through the 12th grade. I believe every child deserves equity in that education. Columbus public schools should have access to the same funding and resources as surrounding public suburban schools. Proper funding would ensure students have access to adequate buildings and technology to compete within the 21st century learning model and receive an education that sets them up to succeed in an ever-evolving world.
James’ idea: I believe a project partnering with Columbus inner city high school youth to form a junior career mentorship program would create positive change within the community. The program would target high school sophomores and juniors seeking guidance and exposure to various career fields and how best navigate their path toward success.