Very early in my publishing career I was given the opportunity to interview Newport News’ Chief of Police.
Before this opportunity, I had never stepped into a police department or had the opportunity to interview someone of such high caliber, so when this assignment came up, I was determined to go boldly. I also recognized Chief Richard Myers from press releases as the interim chief who handled the Trayvon Martin case which was still a huge deal at that time.
At the time, I was highly-motivated to build a great portfolio–at whatever cost–before graduation because I had a chip on my shoulder and something to prove. I was in college, fresh out of the Army and feeling like I was lightyears behind the kids around me. Being an English major wasn’t an easy thing either; most of the time, it felt like people already decided you’d failed before trying. “You’ll regret it”, “that’s a useless degree”, and “don’t you want to make real money?” are words lobbed at English majors every day. After a while, you build an armor against it. Interviewing the city’s chief of police would make a great portfolio piece, I thought.
Anyway, the entire experience at the Newport News police department was really interesting and it turned out that the chief of police was actually a pretty nice guy. It was intimidating to say the least; from entering the huge building with a floor so shiny you could see yourself in it, to riding up the elevator with your armed escort, then finally standing in front of someone so important. It turned out to be a once in a lifetime opportunity I’m grateful to have taken.