50 Notable Alumni

James Luecking

Retired Champaign Chief of Police, Champaign, Illinois

Associates in Applied Science

Criminal Justice


Shortly after Jim graduated with high honors from the University of Illinois in 1973, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences in Psychology, he was offered a position as a Patrol Officer with the Champaign Police Department.

While he worked full-time as a Police Officer, Jim enrolled at Parkland College in order to earn an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice. Through the combination of both degrees from UI and Parkland, in addition to his course work at the University of Minnesota Juvenile Officer’s Institute, graduate courses in Public Administration from Sangamon State and Northern Illinois University, as well as Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command, Jim was able to rise through the ranks of the Champaign Police Department. He was promoted from Patrol Office to Detective/Juvenile Officer, Sergeant of the Patrol and Investigation Divisions, Lieutenant of the Patrol Unit, Deputy Chief of Operations, and finally Chief of Police.

Jim retired in 2003 after 30 years of service from the Champaign Police Department. He still had a desire to make a difference in central Illinois and began working for Illinois CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). Later he was offered a position with ILEAS which works with law enforcement agencies throughout the State of Illinois in matters of mutual aid, emergency response and combining of resources for public safety and terrorism prevention. He continues to work there now.

Some of Jim’s professional memberships and community activities over the years include: Champaign County Domestic Violence Steering Committee, Rape Crisis Center Community Advisory Board, Board of Directors Illinois Children’s Home and Aid Society, Mental Health Center Homeless Shelter Advisory Board, City of Champaign Human Relations Commission, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Police Executive Research Forum, University of Illinois Police Training Institute Advisory Board, and Champaign County Crime Stoppers Board.

Jim’s most memorable experience at Parkland was that “I truly appreciated that the instructors were all experienced people who in addition to their academic credentials had actually worked in law enforcement or the legal field. Since I was an active duty police officer while attending Parkland, the direct application of the courses to the police work I was doing every day made the course of study all the more meaningful.”