Portage Police officer Lieutenant Janis Crafton is retiring from the department after 27 years of service.

Lieutenant Crafton began her law enforcement career in 1992 when she became a member of the department’s Civil Defense Unit as well as working as a telecommunications dispatcher (911) for the agency. In 1996 Lieutenant Crafton was hired as a full-time officer and graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy with honors later that year. Lieutenant Crafton went on to spend thirteen years as a detective where she specialized in crimes against children. Near the end of her career Lieutenant Crafton returned to the Patrol Division where she led a crew of officers in their daily assignments.

Additionally, Crafton served as a Crisis Negotiator, was the department’s first certified Crime Scene Investigator (also leading the PPD CSI team for 20 years), as well as being a member of the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force investigating serious crimes occurring in the region. Crafton was also a state certified instructor who provided training to numerous officers as a guest instructor at the Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.

Crafton was named the Portage Police Department’s Officer of the Year in 2013 and was the first female officer to be awarded the Indiana American Legion’s Lewis Schmidt Award that same year. During her career Lieutenant Crafton was awarded 12 letters of commendation and a lifesaving award for actions taken in the line of duty.  Lieutenant Crafton is also the first female in department history to earn the rank of Lieutenant.

“During her years of dedicated service, Lieutenant Crafton was able to help countless victims and brought many offenders to justice,” the Portage Police Department said on their Facebook page.  “Her impact on the Portage Police Department will be felt for years to come.  She will be missed, and we wish her all the best as she begins this new chapter of her life.”