James Lilley is a former Marine and highly decorated 25 year veteran of the Howard County, Maryland Police Department. During his career with the police department he worked in the Uniformed Patrol Division, Criminal Investigations Division, investigating crimes from auto theft to burglary, robbery and murder. He also spent 3 years as the Supervisor of the Forensic Services Section, working with Crime Scene Investigators (CSI) gathering and processing evidence at various crime scenes. Mr. Lilley then moved on to supervise the police department’s Street Drug Section, which was responsible for making 2,000 drug related arrests in just over two years. With those arrests came a reputation that was feared by those in the drug culture and loved by families wanting to live a peaceful existence in their own neighborhoods. Known as the “Cops in the Black Shirts” they came out of nowhere dressed as construction workers, telephone repairmen, housing inspectors, survey takers and Mr. Lilley also posed as a drug dealer during a sting operation. Arrests made by officers in his section led to the seizure of 116,000 doses of LSD along with a large quantity of Marijuana and Peyote in Oregon. Mr. Lilley and the officers in his Street Drug Section were also featured in the book Undercover, written by Hans Halberstadt and published by Simon and Schuster in August, 1998. In addition to his regular duties he taught at the Police Academy and directed In-Service training classes for veteran officers. Some of Mr. Lilley’s many awards include the Medal of Valor, 4 Bronze Stars, 4 Unit Citations, a Governor’s Citation and dozens of awards for outstanding service to the community.
While serving with the United States Marine Corps, James was stationed in Okinawa where he began practicing the Martial Art of Karate. He began his study almost 40 years ago under Sensei Takeshi Miyagi and was the first American ever to be promoted to the rank of Black Belt by Mr. Miyagi. In August, 2002 Mr. Lilley was promoted to the rank of Eighth Degree Black Belt and is a certified and licensed teacher by the Okinawa Shorin Ryu Karate Do Association. Additionally, while he served with the Howard County Police Department, he was certified as a Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Instructor by the Maryland Police and Corrections Training Commission.
Biography provided by the author, June 2004.