David Philip Hope, Class of 1976
What was your major?
Why did you choose ECU?
Excellent reputation. Growth institution. Not too far and not too close to home.
Why did you choose your major?
I returned to ECU after four years in the U.S. Army and needed a job while completing my college education. Col. Joseph E. Caulder, then Director of Security for ECU, hired me as a campus police officer. Within short order, I found that I truly liked being involved in law enforcement and changed my major to Criminal Justice. I found that I wanted to serve the community and “put the bad guys in jail,” as the saying goes.
What would you tell potential students who are considering your major?
Law enforcement is NOT for everyone. Are you sure or at least fairly certain that L.E. is for you? Do you have a clean back ground, no criminal arrests and a fairly clean driving record, and what about illegal drug use? Are you physically fit? If you are convinced that a career in criminal justice is for you, study diligently, concentrating on your communication skills, both verbal and in written form. One of the measures of a professional in criminal justice is the quality of the numerous reports that he/she will generate on a daily basis. Professionals throughout the organization will see those reports and may have never met the writer of those reports. Name recognition, work ethic, and interpersonal skills are essential to a successful career. Give your best to every class at ECU and to every assignment in your professional career. Finally, you will not get rich working in the criminal justice field, and yes, money is important.
Do you have a professor that you look back on fondly?
Keep in mind that I graduated in 1976. I enjoyed Jim Campbell’s L.E. classes. He had been a North Carolina State Trooper and was able to incorporate his practical experiences into the class room lecture. Dr. Taylor had worked in corrections and most of his classes pertained to correctional services. He was a great professor and a very kind man. Dr. Smith was another grand professor and his drug and alcohol class had a lasting influence on many a student. There were other fine professors and instructors whose names do not come to memory.
What is your best ECU memory?
Too many to list of course, but, I did enjoy one paper I wrote that Jim Campbell raved about in class. While I enjoyed my time at ECU, the best day was graduation day, signifying that it was time to move forward and pursue my career.
Tell us about your current job and any positions that lead you to where you are now.
I am retired from the Chesterfield County Virginia Police Dept. My experience as an ECU campus police officer and my criminal justice degree from ECU led me directly to Chesterfield County. I started my career as a basic patrol officer in Oct. 1976 after attending the police academy. The academy was academically easy for me as I had just finished my degree at ECU and was still in the academic mode. I graduated as the “Top Academic Student” in a class of 35 new police officers. I served 2 ½ years as a patrol officer and was transferred to the Personnel and Training Unit where I conducted background investigations for the police dept. and extra duties including instructing periodically at the Chesterfield Police Academy. Along with general L.E. topics I became a firearms instructor and a driver training instructor. March 10, 1984 I was promoted to the rank of sergeant. I served 1 ½ years in the Safety and Community Support Unit where I supervised and presented crime prevention programs to citizen groups of Chesterfield County. This was a particularly rewarding and enriching assignment as I interacted with the “good people” of the county rather than the negative element. I learned about the concerns of upstanding citizens and my public speaking skills were honed. I was transferred to Uniform Operations (patrol) and served on the evening shift as a street supervisor. I was one of eight sergeants on the evening shift. Nov. 1, 1989 I was promoted to lieutenant and served as the evening shift, north district commander. I had administrative responsibilities as well as managing the shift as a whole. On Jan. 31, 1994 I was promoted to captain and served as the commander of the Support Services Division. Responsibilities included the Crime Prevention Unit, county animal control, school crossing guards, and the police property/evidence section. During that time, work done by my officers in the Crime Prevention Unit gained several national awards. I was then transferred to the Office of Professional Standards (internal affairs) and served as the commander of that group. On Jan. 1, 1999 I was promoted to the rank of major and served as the commander of the Uniform Operations Bureau. I had 250 patrol officers, supervisors, and managers in my bureau. I retired from the Chesterfield County Police Dept. on March 1, 2002. Since that time I have written my first book, Summer Heat, sailed to the Bahamas four times, sailed on a friend’s boat in the South Pacific, Caribbean, and from Panama to Mexico. I volunteer as a director on the Dare Community Crime Line and am a member of the Outer Banks Repeater Association (amateur radio).
What motivates you in your job, and how does your education at ECU relate to that?
During my formative years the ideas of success and achievement were instilled in me. As a professional police officer, I always wanted to move up in the organization. Personal pride certainly played a role. I wanted to be one who contributed. My criminal justice degree from ECU helped me see the “big picture” of how my work as a line employee impacted the overall mission of the police dept. Some never saw that. As I move forward and up, my ECU education moved with me. The numerous papers that were written at ECU developed my writing skill and helped me tremendously in my career.
What lessons did you learn at ECU that you think helped to shape your work or yourself?
Service to others. Always maintain the dignity and self respect of those with whom you deal. Hard work pays off.
What is the best part of your job?
As a supervisor and as a manager, my ability to positively shape/influence the careers of subordinates. Throughout my career, any time that I helped another, was rewarding. My last three years, when I served as the Uniform Operations Bureau Commander, were my best.
Any words of wisdom to current students at ECU or particularly those in the College of Human Ecology (or your major)?
Study hard, get the most out of each and every course, and make your time at ECU worthwhile. It is all right to have fun, but, do not let your fun ruin your future.