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Police Chief got his start at TCC

Chesapeake Chief of Police Col. Kelvin Wright never planned a career in law enforcement. Right out of high school the Portsmouth native went to work for the General Electric Plant in Suffolk. Laid off a few years later, he decided to attend the police academy.

Nine years into his career with the Chesapeake Police Department, Wright learned that Tidewater Community College would award credits for his time on the job. “I started my Criminal Justice degree with a full semester under my belt. That was a plus, because it was a challenge working full time and going to school.”

On his time at TCC Wright says, “The thing that stands out is the dedication of my professors. They had a real concern for their students’ success and went the extra mile to help.”

Wright also remembers the rigors of his biology lab and the sociology class he took with Professor George Sunnucks, as well as the theater class that taught him how to be comfortable speaking in front of groups.

“On Christmas break, I remember riding my motorcycle down Cedar Road to my class at the Chesapeake Campus,” Wright said. “I learned that I love learning at TCC and that has stuck with me.”

Wright earned his associate degree in 1995 and went on to earn a bachelor’s in sociology from Saint Leo University followed by a master’s in public administration from Troy University. He is now at work on a doctorate in public administration with an emphasis on urban policy from Old Dominion University. “I can link all of my educational success back to the foundation I received at TCC. The coursework had the necessary degree of rigor to prepare me for future studies,” Wright said.

An adjunct professor with TCC for eight years, Wright taught classes on police administration, juvenile justice, criminology and crime investigations.

While continuing his education, Wright also climbed the ranks in the police department and was named Chief of Police in 2008. His days are busy handling the daily operations of a police force with 525 officers and civilian personnel and serving a city with more than 220,000 residents. “My workdays are fluid with many demands,” Wright said. “But at the end of the day, what makes it worthwhile is that you can see the results of your work and know that you are improving lives.”

A proponent of life-long learning, Wright has two grown children earning their own college educations.

“I encourage people to dream and often remind them that anyone who goes to TCC will be equipped with the skills necessary to do what they want to do.”

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