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David Crawford

From VCHS to the FBI

By Craig Williams

“I was fortunate to have had a lot of support from my community and school, which helped shape who I am today.”

From a young age and by a supportive hometown, the seeds of service were planted in a young David Crawford. Today, David stands as a testament to what dedication, integrity, and community support can achieve. His journey from Vandalia to becoming an Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is both inspiring and a source of pride for the community.

David’s roots in Vandalia run deep. Born and raised here, he graduated from Vandalia Community High School in 1995. His mother, a Vandalia alumna herself, class of ‘64, raised David single-handedly after the tragic loss of his father when David was just five years old. Despite the challenges, his mother’s strength and determination provided a stable and loving environment, ensuring David had a strong foundation.

“My mom was a very loving disciplinarian,” David recalls. “She made sure I had male role models in my life, whether it was uncles or fathers of friends. She was deliberate and thoughtful about how to raise me the best way she knew how as a single parent.”

David’s high school years were marked by leadership and excellence. Though, it is clear in my conversation with David that he is largely defined by his own humility, I had a hunch and did some digging, and it turns out that in addition to a varsity baseball and football career, David also served as class president for three of his four years, and was the National Honor Society president for a year. Those are the empirical facts, but David eschews any recitation of the resume and instead attributes his success to the wellspring, which is Vandalia, saying, “I was fortunate to have had a lot of support from my community and school, which helped shape who I am today,” he reflects.

After high school, David attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1999. His interest in law enforcement was solidified during an internship with the FBI between his junior and senior years of college. “I went into that internship thinking I wanted to be an agent and came out of it knowing for sure I wanted to be an agent,” he says.

However, the FBI does not hire agents straight out of college. Recognizing the need for experience, David joined the police force in Decatur, Illinois, serving as a police officer for seven years. His work included being an investigator on a drug task force, which provided him with invaluable experience and preparation for his future roles.

In 2006, David’s dream became a reality when he was hired as a special agent with the FBI. His first assignment was in the Indianapolis office, where he worked on a task force investigating gangs, drugs, and violent crime. His career trajectory saw him take on various roles, including supervising offices in Fort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana, and serving as the Chief of the Bureau’s Internal Policy Office in Washington, D.C.

Today, David resides in South Jordan, a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah, where he serves as an ASAC. His responsibilities are diverse, covering the intelligence program, overseeing the SWAT team, the evidence response team, and other crucial functions. “Each day is a little bit different,” David explains. “I have the best position because of the variety it offers.”

David’s role is not just about operational success but also about mentorship and leadership. “I take the most pride in putting people in the best possible position to succeed and accomplish our mission, which is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States,” he says.

David’s story is one of integrity and service. His journey is a testament to the values instilled in him by his mother and his community. “In my 18 years with the FBI, I have not had a bad leader,” David shares. “I’ve been very fortunate to have been exposed to some great people, and I want to give back what I’ve been given over the years.”

I asked David what sort of wisdom he might share with his younger self, or with the recent graduates of VCHS, and he emphasized the importance of doing what you say you’re going to do. “There’s so much to be said for not making empty promises. It takes you a long way in life,” he advises.

Despite living far from his hometown, David’s ties to Vandalia remain strong. He returns every Thanksgiving, a cherished family tradition, to reconnect with his roots. “Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. It’s a time to be with family and reflect on the values that Vandalia instilled in me,” he says.

David’s message to the young people of Vandalia is clear: “Remember the importance of giving back to those who have given so much to you. Pay it forward. Integrity is not just about doing the right thing when no one is watching; it’s about doing what you say you’re going to do.”

David’s journey from a small-town boy to a senior FBI official serves as an inspiration to the students of Vandalia Schools. His story shows that with dedication, integrity, and community support, great things are possible. He stands as a role model, demonstrating that the values and education received in Vandalia can serve as a strong foundation for achieving dreams.

As David looks to the future, he remains committed to serving and mentoring the next generation of leaders. His legacy is one of strength, resilience, and unwavering dedication to his family, community, and country. Vandalia can be proud of its native son, David Crawford, whose journey exemplifies the very best of what it means to serve with integrity and heart.

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