Chief James Wardwell was hired as a Police Officer by the New Britain Police Department in January 1994. He was assigned as a Patrol Officer from 1994-1996 and investigator in the Youth Bureau from 1996 – 2000. While assigned to the Youth Bureau, Wardwell initiated New Britain’s first ever Digital Forensic examinations in 1997 -1998. He conducted many computer investigations in the late 1990’s which turned out to be the beginning of a Digital Forensic lab capability. The forensic lab was not only recognized locally, but was also recognized on a national level.
In 2000 Jim Wardwell was promoted to rank of Detective and was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Bureau through 2004 where he worked many crime scenes, collecting blood, fibers, hair, and other evidence.
In 2001, Wardwell testified before a sub-committee of the United States Congress in Washington D.C. regarding computer crime. Chief Wardwell was nationally recognized in 2006 when he was awarded “Case of The Year” by the International High Technology Crime Investigators Association.
He was honored this prestigious award for the development of a Digital Forensic Technique which led to the recovery of deleted electronic evidence. The evidence was used to convict a sexual predator to twenty-five years in prison. This technique was subsequently published in a respected digital forensic trade journal.
In 2002, Wardwell was selected to be trained as the New Britain Police Department’s first Polygraph Examiner. He graduated from the Texas Department of Public Safety Polygraph School later that same year and set up New Britain’s first polygraph unit. In 2004, Wardwell was honored a regional award in polygraph application to a criminal cold case, giving him national distinction in his work in polygraph. Wardwell went on to become the president of the Connecticut Polygraph Association. Chief Wardwell currently is an elected board member of the American Association of Police Polygraphists, a national association of federal, state, and local law enforcement polygraph examiners.
In 2004, Jim Wardwell was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. As a Sergeant he was assigned to supervise the department’s newly formed Digital Forensic Unit. This unit, now a part of the Criminal Investigation Division, is dedicated to the forensic examination of all seized digital evidence, including computers, cell phones, and all other digital devices.
Chief James Wardwell is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University, and he has also earned an Undergraduate Certificate in Computer Forensics from Marshall University. Chief Wardwell earned his Master’s of Science Degree in Digital Forensic Management from Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.
Chief Wardwell is a Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE), which is an internationally recognized law enforcement certification. Chief Wardwell currently coaches other law enforcement officers from around the country in obtaining this forensic certification. Chief Wardwell was elected to many positions, including President of the Connecticut High Technology Crime Investigators Association (HTCIA).
In 2007, Chief Wardwell was promoted to Lieutenant. Soon after his promotion, Wardwell took over the Command of the Criminal Investigation Division. Wardwell has served as the Acting Captain of the Criminal Investigation Division from May 2011 until being named as the Interim Chief of Police in July 2012.
James Wardwell was sworn in as the 14th Chief of Police for the City of New Britain on January 23, 2013.