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IU Northwest News

Police chief credits IU Northwest with success

Alumnus Greg Mance says experienced faculty, internships gave his career an edge

Tuesday Feb 04, 2014

Greg Mance admits that he is a young police chief. At just 38 years old, he is heading up the force at the Griffith Police Department.

And the job he’s doing is evident by the 12 percent reduction in overall crime and 36 percent decline in violent crimes over the past year, although Mance is quick to deflect the credit to his staff.

Mance became a patrol officer in Griffith in 1999 and was promoted to corporal in 2003. Just a few months later, he was promoted to detective, and then last February, he was named the Chief of Police.

Mance attributes his swift rise through the ranks largely to the education he received at Indiana University Northwest.

The Crown Point native and Andrean High School graduate said that law enforcement has always been his calling and he knew that IU Northwest offered a diverse environment where he would be taught by those who had real experience working in their respective fields.

“I had instructors who were former chiefs, prison wardens, judges, lawyers,” he said. “They are not just teaching from a book. They are teaching from personal experience. That is very rare.”

A criminal justice major, Mance earned his bachelor’s degree in 1999. While in college, he worked as a clerk at the Merrillville Police Department, and experience that helped him to network and solidify his desire to become a police officer.

While in school, he secured an internship at the Northwest Indiana Training Council, which would soon become the Northern Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. As part of his internship, he had the privilege of sitting in on the classes.

“I was getting the same training that the officers were getting,” he said. “I was able to put all that on my resume. It put me heads above all the other candidates.”

When hiring into the Griffith Police Department as an officer, Mance was the first choice of 100 candidates. He said that was largely due to the hands-on experience he gained while at IU Northwest.

In 2003, he returned to IU Northwest to pursue his master’s degree in public affairs, which he received in 2007.

Even though he’d loved being a detective, Mance said his graduate education took him out of his comfort zone and forced him to look at things more broadly. He became an expert in overall public health rather than strictly law enforcement.

The opportunities for growth continued.

“Towards the end of my detective career,” Mance explained, “I was put in charge of the Northwest Indiana Major Crime Task Force. This is an investigative body comprised of detective agencies in Lake and Porter County. That was the pinnacle of where I wanted to be.”

He investigated crimes. He worked alongside great investigators and learned from them. He continued to grow as a person and a student. Before long, Mance began to formulate a vision of how he could change his department and town for the better.

Now, in his newest role as the Griffith Police Chief, it seems Mance’s career has come full circle. To realize his vision, Mance is once again tapping into IU Northwest’s resources and expertise.

After learning about the crime mapping work that Assistant Professor of Public Affairs Joseph Ferrandino, Ph.D., and the Center for Urban and Regional Excellence is doing for other area agencies, Mance wanted to explore what Ferrandino could contribute to the business of fighting crime in Griffith.

Mance handed over five years of crime statistics so that Ferrandino could analyze it. His recommendations led to drastic changes in way the department handled their patrols.

“We are lucky to be in this part of Indiana where there are so many resources at our disposal,” Mance said.

Mance advises young students to “constantly challenge yourself. Never become complacent. Always try to learn something new. Become a lifelong learner.”

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