A Night Out for Chesapeake’s Finest

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Right: L-R Chief of Police Kelvin Wright, Janet Wright, Lt. Troy Lindsey, Tricia Lindsey

L-R Chief of Police Kelvin Wright, Janet Wright, Lt. Troy Lindsey, Tricia Lindsey

By JOHN DOWNS, SR.

The Chesapeake Public Safety community recently treated itself to a night out at the Greenbrier Marriott. Ranks, titles, and uniforms were left at home that night while captains and chiefs, patrolmen and detectives, firefighters and sheriff’s deputies and their significant others all mingled and socialized.

There were also a number of community leaders and elected officials on hand to demonstrate their support for the extraordinary job our community’s first responders do on a daily basis. Mayor Alan Krasnoff, Chesapeake’s new City Manager Jim Baker, Councilwoman Debbie Ritter, and Delegate John Cosgrove joined the gathering to enjoy a delicious buffet with Chesapeake’s finest.

The event was low key and lacked any speech making whatsoever. Chesapeake Fraternal Order of Police President Jeff Sloan offered a few welcoming remarks and also officiated the drawing for the many door prizes local businesses and supporters had donated. Nearly forty attendees went home with beautifully arranged gift baskets or generous gift certificates to a number of popular local restaurants.

The entrance to the Marriott featured a glimpse of both the past and the present. Parked at the doorway was the popular Ford police cruiser from 1963. Many affectionately compare it to the police car featured on the old Andy Griffith show. Directly beside the cherished antique was the latest in modern police transportation, decked out in the new police colors with a futuristic look.

Chesapeake Police Chief Kelvin Wright was in attendance with his wife, Janet. “It’s great to have a night like this,” Chief Wright offered, “Public Safety in Chesapeake is a tight knit community, and I am very happy and proud to be a part of it.”

Banquet goers were treated to a display inside the banquet hall of memorabilia from days past. The exhibit featured uniforms, pictures, license plates and other artifacts from the early days of the Chesapeake Police Department.

Buddy Cummings, a popular community leader and owner of Graphic Concept Solutions sponsored a table at the banquet to demonstrate his strong support for the law enforcement community.

Del. John Cosgrove, Sue Cosgrove and City Council member Debbie Ritter

Del. John Cosgrove, Sue Cosgrove and City Council member Debbie Ritter

“I’m honored to be here tonight,” Cummings said.   “These men and women risk their lives daily and it’s great to see so many of them have an evening to themselves. We’re very fortunate in Chesapeake to have such dedicated public safety personnel.”

As veterans and rookies, retirees and volunteers talked shop and reminisced about past exploits, the evening changed to up tempo with colored lights flashing and popular music blaring as the dance floor opened and the camaraderie continued to late evening.

While the banquet was not technically billed as a fundraiser, the topic of conversation at many of the tables turned to the new Public Safety Memorial. The old memorial, which honors those public safety personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, unfortunately is full with eleven law enforcement names and five firefighters dating back to 1909. “We have two additional names that need to be added but there’s no room on the current memorial outside the Public Safety building,” Jeff Sloan remarked.  “The city has very generously donated a new site in the City Hall complex next to the courts building and the only thing missing now is the funds to actually build the new memorial. We’re in the process of raising the money it will take to complete the project. A number of public spirited leaders have come forth to help with our efforts but in the end it’s going to be the community that helps us over the top. I know they will come through for us.”

The new memorial will feature life-sized statues of a police officer, a Sheriff’s deputy, and a firefighter. Large stone columns will memorialize the names of our community’s fallen heroes.

A number of public fund raising events are planned. The effort has been set up as a non-profit (501c3) organization so there may be tax benefits for those who donate funds. To donate or request information, call (757) 639-9847. Donations may be mailed to:

Chesapeake Public Safety Memorial
P.O. Box 2541
Chesapeake, Virginia  23327

The Bank of Hampton Roads has also generously agreed to accept donations at any of their branch offices throughout Chesapeake.

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