Today we are pleased to spotlight a great friend of Jewish Buffalo, Captain James (Jim) A. McNamara, a member of the Amherst Police Department’s (APD) Detective Bureau. Jim, who is closing in on 29 years with APD, will be joining Federation’s Director of Community Security, Susan DeMari, on a unique Security Director and Law Enforcement Mission to Israel in early 2024. This experience is made possible by Secure Community Network (SCN), the official national safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America.
“I’m honored and excited to travel to Israel with Susan and so many of my colleagues,” shared Jim. “My wife Sherry is Jewish and grew up at Temple Shaarey Tzedek and two of my four children participated on Birthright Israel. I see this as a similar once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Jim has been involved in some aspect of law enforcement his entire career beginning with five years as an active duty member of the Marine Corps and two years that followed as a railroad officer for Conrail. His passion for helping to secure the Jewish community has been long standing. “Starting in 2001, around two years after Columbine and school shooters and school safety was top of mind for us, I fielded a lot of calls from synagogues, the day schools and other Jewish institutions and organized threat assessments and trainings. My goal was to help the leaders of these organizations develop safety plans for their staff and members.”
Today, Jim works closely with Buffalo’s Jewish Community Security Director Susan DeMari and shared that she’s been a great conduit to the community for APD, “She’s been a fantastic resource from our perspective,” he states. And the feeling is mutual: “Captain McNamara has been an incredible partner since the onset of Secure Jewish Buffalo,” Susan shared. “He has helped us build and maintain the tools and resources needed to create a safer community. We have been very privileged to have him working with the Buffalo Jewish Federation and I’m looking forward to experiencing Israel together with him and other law enforcement representatives from our region.”
A native Buffalonian, Jim grew up in Tonawanda and takes enormous pride in his family. He and Sherry, who is an executive assistant for the superintendent of the Sweet Home School District, have four adult children. Their oldest, Ryan, lives in Manhattan and works for the State Department. Ryan and his wife have one of Jim and Sherry’s two grandchildren. His oldest daughter, Kelly, is a West Point graduate and currently resides in Texas. Kelly recently left the Army as a captain and she and her husband have one daughter. The McNamara’s next daughter Valerie played soccer for Binghamton and served in the Peace Crops in Madagascar. Finally, their youngest, Audrey, is a graduate of Plattsburgh and just began her third year teaching special education in Philadelphia.