Innovators in Action: James Small, public safety director of Palmyra, Wisconsin

In Politics by Michael Rae

When James Small took command of the Palmyra police department in 2015, the Wisconsin village’s public safety agencies were in bad shape. High turnover and the absence of a consistent vision for police, fire, and emergency medical services contributed to poor response times and a lack of public trust. The small town of about 1,800 residents had an annual property crime rate of approximately 44 crimes per 1,000 residents––a high rate for a town of its size. The village also generated a substantial amount of revenue from ticket fines.  

Small oversaw the implementation of an innovative public safety program that combined