St. John residents met with new St. John Police Chief Jim Cude at a welcome reception on Sept. 20 at the city building.

St. John’s new police chief Jim Cude likes being in a small town just fine. Cude was in the Fredonia police department for 14 years before coming to St. John.

Cude got to meet area residents on Sept. 20 during a meet and greet at St. John City Hall. Cude got a surprise visitor when his wife of 17 years Lisa Cude and her friend Ronda Cul- bertson drove all the way from Fredonia just to surprise him on his special day.

Cude was voted in as chief on Aug. 28 and started full time on Aug. 29. He has been busy getting the lay of the land. After just a couple of weeks, he is certain he made the right choice in coming to St. John.

“The people are upfront, welcoming and honest,” Cude said.

Prior to Cude’s arrival, St. John only had one police officer, Bill Elliott. Now the two are working hand in hand with a solemn vow to the community.

“There will be law enforcement 24-7. If the people need law enforcement, we’ ll be there,” Cude said.

The St. John police will be there to help people. The officers are approachable and will be available to serve the citizens, Cude said.

Community plays an important part in serving. The police department can’t do their job efficiently without the help of the community.

“I believe in community policing. We want people to see us in a positive light,” Cude said.

Besides getting to know the community, Cude said he is learning what programs are available and what they bring to the community.

Cude was raised in Independence and graduated from high school there in 1988.

He had always been interested in emergency services and wanted to help people in time of need. Part of his attraction to emergency services was tied to his love for motorcycles. A couple of times, EMS helped him after he had accidents on his motorcycle.

So he took EMT training during 1989-1990 and was certified through Independence College. He worked for the Independence ambulance service for nine years.

He took a year off and did general labor jobs but missed being in emergency services. He joined the Labette EMS for five years as an EMT IV. While working at Labette, he was a hyperbaric chamber operator. While in Labette, he met the love of his life Lisa who worked in the Wilson County Medical Center.     

The couple moved to Neodesha where Cude worked for two years with Wilson County 911 as a full time dispatcher and assistant director.

While he enjoyed working for EMS, his dream since childhood was to work in law enforcement, Cude said.

In 2005, Cude became a part time police officer in Fredonia where he was also a part time building code enforcer. In 2006, he became a full time patrol officer. In 2011, he was promoted to police sergeant then promoted again in 2014 to police captain and served Fredonia in that capacity until 2018. Fredonia didn’t have detectives in their police department so Cude also had detective duties.

But Cude wanted to be a chief. He favored working in a small community because the residents tend to treat people better than happens in bigger towns. When he found out about the opening at St. John, he got busy and did some research. He appreciated this forward thinking community and applied for the position. Cude is now working full time in St. John and learning what the community has to offer for kids and adults.

“The community welcomes people in,” Cude said.

He is impressed with the variety of activities such as the skating rink, the indoor pool and racket ball court. These are amenities like a big town would have. He is very impressed with the new grocery store that is opening soon, Cude said.