Hometown Hero James Foraker, retired law enforcement officer

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Jim Foraker and his beautiful wife Elegra moved to Cape Coral 3 years ago. They share 2 daughters (Elegra’s) and 4 grandchildren, along with 2 dogs, a 100 pound black Lab named Brodie and an 85 pound Bloodhound named Annabelle.

Jim began his public service at the age of 19 when he started out as a Cadet Correction Officer at the Medina County Sheriff’s Office in his home state of Ohio. He was literally a kid in a cop suit, weighing just 130 pounds! He didn’t have a mustache because he couldn’t grow one (back in 1985, all young cops had mustaches!)

Working in a correction atmosphere (it was referred to as jail back then) proved to be invaluable in his on the job training. He learned to communicate with people when they were at their worst. He dealt with people in crisis on a daily basis. Like all Sheriff’s Offices, they were always understaffed and lacked proper equipment, which helped them learn how to get the job done through innovation and thinking outside the box. “I think the most important lesson I learned was that there is always a solution to a problem, you just have to find it,” says Jim.

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He was a Patrol Officer for 7 years before being transferred to the Detectives Bureau, where he spent 14 years as a Detective. Jim handled every type of criminal case from homicides, thefts, sex offenses and assaults. They were a medium-sized department, meaning that they handled most of their own forensics and crime scene processing. “As a Detective, I dealt not only with the offender but with the victim as well.” Those communication skills he learned early in his career were put to the test.

Once in the Detectives Bureau, he started to work more with the Job and Family Services Department. (Back then it was called Children Services.) Nobody really wanted to work these types of cases, so Jim saw a need for a trained detective and began to work more closely with the crimes against children. He teamed up with some seasoned social workers who were more than happy to have a detective who wanted to work with them. “I was able to get some additional training and off we went. I consider this the high point of my career.”

During a 3 year period, Jim and 2 other detectives were inspired by a couple of detectives from Xenia, OH who started their own online Child Internet Task Force. Jim and his co-workers attended training with the other department and, with the help of a confiscated computer, were up and running. They formed the Medina County Child Internet Task Force. For the first time, as investigators, they could proactively search for people who wanted to come to their county and hurt their children. “Before this, a child had to actually be hurt before we could stop it. Now, we were able to go after perpetrators before a child was scarred for life.”

“We went online posing as 13-year-old children. Within a 3 year span, 30 different men traveled to Medina County to molest a child. Instead, they met us. We had a 100% conviction rate. Working this unit was one of the most intense, draining and most rewarding parts of my career.”

Jim was later promoted to Sergeant in charge of the Courthouse complex. He was responsible for the protection of 5 different judges and the courthouse employees. There Jim honed his budgetary and administrative skills.

Over his career, Jim received numerous awards along the way, achieving recognition in every division in which he worked. His final extra role was as a Hostage Negotiator, where he was able to draw upon his years of communication skills. Jim was also involved in the Big Brother Association of Summit County, where he was awarded Big Brother of the Year in 1988. He finished his career as a Road Patrol Sergeant, retiring in November 2013.

In retirement, Jim keeps busy as a part time security officer at retirement community Campo Felice in Fort Myers. But his favorite thing to do is spend time on the water in his boat. Jim, Elegra and the two dogs are on the water just about every day, enjoying the lifestyle Cape Coral offers.

Jim is also involved in various local political organizations, as well as the Moose, The Eagles and the Cop Shop. He was also involved in the demolition derby in Ohio, where he drove in several charitable demolition derby events for the Burn Center at Akron Children’s Hospital. He also drove a car in the county fair, raising money for a friend’s stem cell transplant.

Thank you for your lifetime of service, Jim! You are truly a Hometown Hero!