Chief Jody D. Kasper was born and raised in Western Massachusetts. She attended Mohawk Trail Regional High School, Greenfield Community College, and Westfield State University (WSU). At WSU she earned a master's degree in criminal justice and a second master's degree in public administration. Chief Kasper began her career with the Northampton Police Department in 1998 as a patrol officer. She was a Bike Patrol Officer, a Field Training Officer, a Detective, a Sergeant, a Lieutenant, the Detective Lieutenant, the Captain of Operations, and was appointed as Chief in June, 2015.
Chief Kasper has a strong commitment to professional and progressive policing strategies. As an administrator she has implemented a number of new programs to strengthen the quality of services that NPD provides to the city. These include a civilian co-responder program to improve resources available to those experiencing a mental health crisis, a Directed Traffic Enforcement program that uses speed data to create a data-driven enforcement plan, the adoption of the nationally recognized Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) program to support de-escalation during use of force incidents, a Restorative Justice program that allows a pre-arraignment alternative to the court process for qualifying juveniles and adults, a Park and Walk program to strengthen community relations, an optional annual fitness test for all sworn personnel to support employees in their commitment to fitness, Community Liaison Officers to collaborate and engage with community members, training officers as Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) to better identify and apprehend drivers impaired by drugs, a Drug Addiction Recovery Team (DART) to assist people addicted to opiates, an sUAS Unit to enhance crime scene investigations and search and rescue efforts, participation in the White House Police Data Initiative to work on improving police transparency and accountability within NPD, and committing to the 30x30 Initiative in order to increase the representation and experiences of women and other minorities in policing.
Chief Kasper is a member of the Western Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association where she serves on the Executive Committee, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives. She serves as a commissioner with the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. She is a member of the Task Force on Hate Crimes. She is a member of the Commonwealth Securities Trust Fund. She is on the Executive Board of the Municipal Police Institute. Chief Kasper also serves on the Westfield State University Criminal Justice Advisory Committee. Within Northampton she is a member of the Transportation and Parking Commission and is on the Executive Board of the Hampshire Heroin/Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Coalition.
Chief Kasper also enjoys teaching and has taught at Elms College, at the Roger Williams University Justice System Training and Research Institute, and for the Municipal Police Training Committee. She has given conference presentations on a wide variety of topics, including leadership, officer training and health, motivation, and open data. Chief Kasper is also a published author. She has written three books in the area of policing and leadership and has written numerous articles that have been published in national and international magazines.
Chief Kasper has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout her career. Department awards that she has received include the Honorable Service Medal, Life Saving Medal, Grand Cordon Medal, Unit Citation Medal and the Fitness Medal. She was also named to the Westfield State University Alumni Hall of Fame. She also received the Greenfield Community College Distinguished Alumni Award. Chief Kasper received the Elks Exemplary Service Award, the Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts "She Changes the World Award," and the Cutchins Program for Children and Families "Good Neighbor to the Neighborhood Award." Finally, in 2021, Chief Kasper was named the Woman Law Enforcement Executive of the Year by the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives.