By Traci Chapman
James spent 30 years at Mustang Police Department, rising through the ranks and eventually heading the department for several years after Chief David Cockrell took the over as Mustang City Manager.
James began his journey toward Mustang in the 1970s. He served in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, where he met Jim White in 1979.
James moved to Mustang after his discharge from the Army; White would eventually also come to Mustang and work for James at the police department during a career here that spanned about 36 years.
James joined Mustang Police Department in 1980, working his way up through the ranks. At one point, he had a break in that service when he left to go to college, White said. He returned to the department after that, “beginning again at the bottom and working his way up,” white said.
The future chief also lor a time to worked for seven months for the District Attorney
S Metro Enforcement Group, returning to the department in 1988, Mustang human resources director Laura Anderson said Monday.
In addition to working virtually every – if not all – positions open to officers during his tenure, James was one of Mustang’s first K-9 handlers. In fact, James adopted his former partner Elvis, after the dog’s 1999 retirement.
James in 1999 became deputy chief under David Cockrell, who for a time served as both active city manager and police chief; when Cockrell moved full-time to city manager, James became chief.
James was popular with his staff and the community, as well as other law enforcement officials, those who worked with him said. He was one of the founding members of the Fraternal Order of Police in Mustang, White said, always committed to his employees and their welfare.
“Monte always had the community at heart,” White said. “He never quit working, that’s for sure – I would drive by his house in the middle of night and he’d be in his office working on his computer.”
James left Mustang in 2011.
It was also at Fort Riley, Kansas, James would meet his future wife Darla, White said Monday. The couple was married for 41 years and have two sons, one daughter and five grandchildren.
“Monte was always very, very dedicated to Darla and very dedicated to his family,” White said. “He never did anything halfway.”
As of press time, James’s funeral was set for Tuesday in Yukon, where the former chief lived for several years after leaving Mustang Police Department.