The Historian's Spotlight - Chaplain Jeff Kruitoff
BY PATRICK DAVIS
In our January/February 2018 edition of the Associate Magazine our recently appointed National Chaplain Jeff Kruithoff, (Krite-hoff) provided us with a very brief peek into his background, and it left me wanting to know more, so I asked a few questions, got a few answers, and now I’d like to provide a bit more detail so that everyone gets to know Jeff a little better.
Jeff was born in Holland, Michigan and lived in, what he refers to as, “a well grounded Christian home.” His mother volunteered at church and
other community events, and his father was a tool and die maker. Jeff spent the first forty-seven years of his life in Michigan. As the name
suggests, Holland was settled and named by Dutch Immigrants who settled from the Netherlands. Fittingly, annually during the Month of May,
the City of Holland hosts a Tulip Festival. When growing up it was one of the largest in the country and celebrated the Dutch history of
the community. There were parades, Dutch Vendors and yes, even Klompen Dancers. Klompen means "clog" or "wooden shoe." The story of
the wooden shoe comes from The Netherlands. A fishing and sailing country which is below sea level and always wet. In order to keep out the
cold and damp, residents would wear layers of heavy socks and wooden shoes (clogs).The Festival Dancers perform in provincial Dutch costume with
the women wearing lace hats specific to their region of origin. The Klompen Dance features very high kicking, similar to Irish Ceili Dance and
referred to as the cousin of Germany's Holzschuhtanz (Clog Shoe Dance.) Klompen is done in a group, similar to a square dance like the Virginia
Reel, or Sir Roger de Coverly, as it's called in England. Dancers partner and “hand off” throughout the dance. It's akin to a Mazurka and Scottish polka, too.
Jeff states that during his younger years his aspirations were to be a Police Officer or a Minister. Those of us who have spent time in Law Enforcement understand that in either field your focus is to protect and save people, many times from themselves. So, as graduation approached the course of study in law enforcement looked much more desirable than the Latin heavy curriculum of a Christian Reformed Minister.
Jeff attended Muskegon Community College where he earned Associate Degree in Law Enforcement. He would later earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Ferris State University, followed by a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Western Michigan University. Jeff states that during his younger years his aspirations were to be a Police Officer or a Minister.
After starting his police career as Police Cadet in 1972 for the Holland Police Department, he worked briefly for the City of Allegan Michigan and Allegan County Sheriff’s Office as well as for a Regional Drug Enforcement Unit. In 1979 Jeff joined the Battle Creek Michigan Police Department. Throughout his career, he has held various positions: Community Service Officer, Undercover Narcotics Investigator, Patrol Officer, Crime Prevention Specialist, Grand Jury Investigator, Patrol Supervisor, Executive Officer, as well as Deputy Chief of Police. In 1995, Jeff became the Chief of Police / Director of Police and Fire Services for the Battle Creek Police Department. After serving 6 years in that role, he retired from the Department. Jeff was not idle, following a 28 year Law Enforcement career in Michigan he headed to Ohio, specifically the City of Springboro, where he accepted the Chief of Police position and where he continues to serve today.
Jeff’s commitment to Law Enforcement networking and ongoing education is evident in his memberships and affiliations; he is a member of the Ohio Chiefs of Police and has been awarded Life Member status with the International Chiefs of Police Association. He has served as the chairperson for the Warren County Ohio Chiefs of Police, the Tactical Crime Suppression Unit of South Dayton, and the Greater Warren County Drug Task Force. He is also a member of the Police Executive Research Forum. He is a State of Ohio instructor on the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Management Teams (IMTs.) As an instructor, Jeff has taught over one thousand police and fire managers in Incident Command and NIMS. He has also served as a Team Leader for the State of Ohio, All Hazard’s Incident Management Team, and is a member of the Billy Graham Ministries Rapid Recovery Team.
Jeff is a graduate of the 165th Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy. He also attended the Law Enforcement Leadership Academy, and became a Certified Law Enforcement Executive through the Law Enforcement Foundation in 2004.
He states that his wife was very supportive of his desire to attend the NA, knowing that he desired a spot at the Academy for many years prior to his meeting her. When questioned about his time at Quantico Jeff states: “I enjoyed the leadership classes at the NA.” He found the elective course called “Violence in America” taught by SA Hazelwood very intriguing. This class looked at a number of high profile cases and killers in the history of our country. He also found the physical fitness regimen of the Academy quite beneficial for him, at that time in his life.
Jeff cannot think of anything that he disliked about the NA experience. He loved the interaction with the International Students and hearing about the issues they faced as Law Enforcement Officers.
Having spent most of his life in the mid-west, he savored the opportunity to spend an extended time in and around Washington D.C. He took advantage of many opportunities to explore Washington during his twelve week session. Like many of us, he still keeps in contact with some of the session mates; though as people have retired, that continued contact becomes difficult. He does regret not keeping up with the International Relationships.
The advise that Jeff offers to those he speaks with that are heading off to Quantico is simple; “Just take the time to soak it all in. You are surrounded by police professionals from around the world. Don’t get too focused on the academics of the academy at the expense of fostering long-term relationships with your classmates.”
As he continues on through his decades long Law Enforcement journey, he values the ongoing access to training opportunities at the State Chapter level and believes that they are” absolutely critical” to his continued professional development.
Jeff has no desire to slow down and says that he plans to continue in his current position(s) for a number of years yet; simply stating that “the Good Lord has continued to provide me health and has placed me in a wonderful department that is just as much a family to me as it is a workplace.”
Serving in the appointed position of National Board Chaplain, Jeff will serve on the NA Executive Board until July 2020.
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