Remembering Deputy Chief James Waters: Husband, father & sworn IMPD officer

Posted at 2:55 PM, Aug 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-02 18:44:13-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- James Waters wore many hats during his lifetime: Husband, father, brother, Po-Po and sworn officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department of 27 years. 

Friends and family gathered together to celebrate the life of Deputy Chief James Waters at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday. 

James “Jim” Waters met his wife, Sherry, at the age of 17. The two were married when they were 20 years old. The couple had two children, Ashley Waters-Biddy and James Waters III.

Jim graduated from Bethesda High School in 1987 and attended IUPUI while working for the Indianapolis Police Department in a civilian capacity.

Waters began his dream of becoming an officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in 1990. 

“Jim’s goal was to improve the quality of life for those he served," said Pastor Mark Petty. 

And that he did.


IMPD Lt. Michael Bruin remembers the day he met Deputy Chief Waters in 1993 while working on West District. 

“Jim was a fairly new officer and I was an older, more experienced officer so he looked up to me and followed my lead,” said Lt. Bruin. “And despite that obvious lapse in judgment, Jim grew into a great police officer.”

From that day, their friendship continued to grow, from patrolling the streets of Indianapolis to double dates with their wives. 

Lt. Bruin said the two spent countless hours together on and off duty, including a double date that the two went on early in their career that was cut short by a homicide investigation. 


IMPD Chief Bryan Roach said Deputy Chief Waters as a man who could make anything happen and described him as "the absolute best manipulator."

"He could get you to do things you never thought of and make you think it was the best thing to do. Even if you were not so sure, he was so nice about it that you wouldn’t push back,” said Chief Roach. “I knew that if he invited me to breakfast or lunch something was coming, but for some reason I never resisted.”


Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said Waters carried the weight of the world on his shoulders, just like all officers do, but despite that, he always entered the room with a smile.

“Despite all he had seen in almost 20 years in the force, (Jim) always entered the room with a smile,” said Mayor Hogsett. “He was a tireless public servant. He was an unapologetically cheerful officer. He was a kind friend.”


The common theme in many of the stories shared about Deputy Chief Waters was the sacrifices he made to serve the city and people that he loved.

“If you had to build a police officer prototype, it would look like Jim Waters,” said Lt. Bruin.

Before serving as Deputy Chief, Waters held many positions with IMPD, making a name for himself on the force as East District Commander. 

A moment of silence was called out over IMPD radios when Waters' funeral procession reached East District headquarters to honor the impact he had on an embattled part of the city. 

Waters loved Elvis, flying planes, riding horses, camping and playing cards and basketball with his son. 


“To Jim’s family: Thank you for allowing us the privilege, the honor of being here today and thank you for sharing this wonderful man with our community,” said Mayor Hogsett.