GUEST COLUMN: Wilmington police officers continue to serve - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

GUEST COLUMN: Wilmington police officers continue to serve

WILMINGTON, NC (WILMINGTON POLICE) - The next time you see a Wilmington Police Officer on the street, thank them for their service—not only the outstanding service they provide the citizens of Wilmington, but in many cases, service they have provided to the country.  There are 54 Officers and civilians working for the Wilmington Police Department that have served in one of the branches of the Armed Services, with an amazing total of 522 years of military experience.  These sworn and non-sworn personnel have lengths of military service ranging from 1 year to over 24 years, and levels of rank from E-1 to O-5.  Nine of our current sworn officers had careers in their respective military branches of over 20 years.  Most of the prior service personnel at the Wilmington Police Department served in the USMC, with the US Army next.  Following is a list of service data:  25  USMC with 185 years of service; 10 US Army with 88 years; 15 National Guard/reserves  with 115 years; 7 USAF with 73 years; 4 US Navy with 36 years; 2 US Coast Guard with 26 years.  Some officers served both active duty and then National Guard/Reserves, and some officers are still serving in the Guard/Reserves, and have been subject to deployments.

    The wide diversity of experience these officers bring with them is a great benefit to the Department—not only in basic military skills, but leadership, discipline, loyalty and dedication.  All of the Department's SABLE pilots have vast military experience, as one might surmise.  But this depth of experience goes beyond just technical skills—many of our prior service officers attended advanced training in leadership and management as well, having attended Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) or Officer academies that have been benchmarked as world class organizations.  One of the Department's Lieutenants was a USAF Para Rescue NCO, with dozens of high and low altitude parachute jumps.  Another served as a senior NCO for over 20 years in the USMC, attaining the rank of Sgt Major.  Another retired officer, who is now one of our auxiliary officers, rose to the rank of Sgt Major in the US Army can speak seven languages.  The list goes on and on, but the story is the same—military men and women who have served around the globe, are now serving their fellow Wilmington citizens as members of the Police Department.  So as Veterans Day approaches, remember that many of those who served our country are still proudly serving the City of Wilmington, bringing their experiences and values from the land, sea, and air to the streets you drive every day.

Cpl. Kevin Smith (Retired, Lt. Col. in USAF)

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