James A. (Jim) Cervera, a 32-year veteran of the Virginia Beach Police Department, was appointed Chief of Police by City Manager James K. Spore effective on September 1, 2010, and he will lead a department of 806 sworn staff and 166 civilians.
After having served two years with the Montclair, New Jersey Police Department, Jim joined the department in 1978 and was promoted through the ranks. As a sergeant, he served as a SWAT team leader; as a lieutenant, he was assigned to the Labor Day task force, and as a captain, he commanded the second precinct. He also has held posts in Professional Development and Training and assignments on the Chief’s Staff. He was appointed Deputy Chief of Operations in 2000. During the his years as Deputy Chief, he has supervised the Operations Division and the Investigative Division.
During his tenure, he has been instrumental in developing and implementing the city’s gang prevention program. He authored and secured a series of grants for a community policing program, then coordinated and supervised its implementation. He also introduced the COMPSTAT program to the department, which uses GIS technology to map crime and identify problems, brings precinct commanders together to discuss the problems and devises strategies to solve those problems and reduce crime.
He holds positions with a number of community organizations including The Hampton Roads Community Foundation and Project Lifesaver International. Jim was also appointed to Governor Bob McDonnell’s Transition Team.
Jim earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from St. Leo University in St. Leo, FL, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Old Dominion University. He graduated from the FBI National Academy 171 session in Quantico, VA, the Police Executive Leadership School at the University of Richmond, the University of Virginia’s Senior Executive Institute, the Senior Management Program in Policing from Boston University, and will graduate from the National Executive Institute in September.
Jim, 55, lives in Kempsville with his wife Cynthia and his grandson Bailey.