LeRoy Gross was promoted to captain within the Jamestown Police Department as of Sept. 1. The new leadership role wasn't something he aspired to as a young patrolman with the department 30 years ago.
"I remember not wanting to be a supervisor because trouble always flowed uphill," he said, referring to the period from 1989 to 1994 when he was a uniformed patrol officer. "Now I strive to mentor the new guys so there is no trouble."
Scott Edinger, chief of the Jamestown Police Department, said Gross' activity as a mentor helps new officers learn the right way to do things on the job.
"He has a great work ethic," Edinger said. "He is always about helping people."
One of Gross' most visible public efforts has been to educate people on how to avoid becoming the victim of a scam.
"At the time, scam complaints consumed most of my work," he said, referring to the start of his scam education efforts. "People were coming in all the time saying that had answered an ad or even met someone and ended up losing some or possibly all of their money."
His scam education program has been presented to senior citizen groups and others in the community. Over the years, the methods of some of the scams have changed but the basics have remained the same with someone trying to get the victim to wire money to them.
"I enjoy talking to the public and hopefully getting the word out," Gross said. "The more people know, the less likely they are to fall victim of a scam."
Edinger said Gross has also been active in investigating and educating the public on human trafficking and other crimes.
In his new role as captain, Gross supervises the investigative services section of the JPD. He replaces John Gletne, who recently retired from the post.
"Detectives in our department pretty much do everything," he said. "Property crimes, crimes against people, whatever we need to investigate."
As the head of investigative services, he will also be responsible for supervising the JPD's sex offender registration and tracking program as well as reviewing the work of other officers as documents are prepared to go to the city or state's attorney for prosecution.
Gross said that he became interested in working as a law enforcement officer when he was in high school even though he did not join the department until he was about 25 years old.
"Even when they wrote me a (traffic) ticket, they treated me fairly," he said.
Now, more than 30 years later, he still finds the work interesting.
"It really is enjoyable working with the people of Jamestown," Gross said. "Our job is to provide a service to the public. Whether we can fix a problem or not, we have to give it a try."