Student, football star, part-time employee and part-time cadet. Shakeem Copeland knows the value of hard work. The 23-year-old has been juggling all these roles for the past several months. Now he’s taking on a new one – full-time Sheriff’s deputy.
This month, Copeland began his career in law enforcement as a Sheriff’s deputy at the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office.
“I’m excited. I always knew I wanted to go into law enforcement … just like my granddad,” Copeland said.
“It is a lot, but I’m very motivated. Hard work; that’s how you earn your keep. That’s what I was taught.”
It was a lesson well-learned. Last semester, Copeland began studying for his Master’s degree in Criminal Justice at Norfolk State University. It’s an interest that was cultivated early.
Copeland finished his final year as an undergraduate early, then he heard about the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office’s Cadet Training program. The program was founded in 2016 by Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan. He designed the course to provide local college students with valuable training and experience in the criminal justice field, all while they earn college credit. It is offered during the summer months to Criminal Justice majors at Norfolk State and Old Dominion Universities. The cadets learn everything from firearms and defensive tactics to law and interpersonal communication. After graduation, the cadets can apply for a paying position as a Deputy Sheriff Cadet. That’s exactly what Copeland did.
“It was easy to transfer from football to this because we have the same values: work hard and take care of each other,” said Copeland. “They’re a family here, and that’s what I wanted to be a part of.”
He aced the course then applied to be a full-time deputy. Sheriff O’Sullivan presented him with his badge and credentials – making him an official law enforcement officer, just like his grandfather.
“We’re proud to have him join us,” Sheriff O’Sullivan said. “Deputy Copeland is a hard worker. His energy, passion, and dedication are remarkable. He’ll make an excellent member of the team.”