Five officers advance in police department ranks

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 16, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

The first time she worked with Suffolk Police Officer Lance Callis, the soon-to-be sergeant didn’t look much like a cop, Capt. Stephanie Burch remembered during Callis’ promotion ceremony on Tuesday at the City Council chambers.

&uot;He was wearing plain clothes, because his uniforms weren’t available yet,&uot; Burch said. &uot;I had the misfortune of getting into a foot pursuit, and he had the greater misfortune of assisting. This ultimately resulted in him running through a swamp and being covered in mud. All I can remember about that time is that he was smiling and saying how much fun it was.&uot;

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Callis was one of five officers to receive promotions at the event, as he, fellow master officer Frederick Cunningham and detective Margaret Earls moved up to sergeant, and officers Dana Coleman and Timothy Cooper advanced to master police officer.

Having both a father and brother who work as Norfolk canine officers, Callis came to the SPD in 1994. Two years later, he became a fatality investigator, and received an Officer of the Quarter award. As a field training officer in the uniform patrol, he received the 2002 Officer of the Year award. Earlier this year, he began as a canine handler and unit supervisor.

Earls came to the local department in 1998, and is a trained hostage crisis negotiator and member of the Crisis Negotiation Team. She was transferred to the Investigative Division in 2002.

Last summer, Cunningham celebrated his 14th anniversary as a member of the department. He worked in the special investigations unit, uniform patrol division and the community services unit, where he helped form the bike patrol. He’s worked as a field training officer and instructor at the Hampton Roads Academy of Criminal Justice.

Cooper is also a field training officer, as well as an evidence technician. He received the department’s life-saving award in 1999, and transferred to the investigative division in February.

Aside from being a member of the SWAT team, dive team, and Project Lifesaver search and rescue team, Coleman’s resume includes two stints on uniform patrol, as well as time in special investigations, property and evidence and community policing.

&uot;Tonight, you have made a public declaration to not only accept the symbols of responsibility,&uot; Suffolk Police Chief Willie Freeman said to his newest class, &uot;but you have promised to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and abilities on a daily basis to everyone you come in contact with.

&uot;Do not take for granted the power of your influence. Use it wisely and you leave a lasting legacy. Leo Tolstoy once said, ‘Life is a place of service; joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.’&uot;

As the ceremony neared an end, Cunningham became a impromptu salutorian for the graduating class.

&uot;Since we all started our careers in law enforcement, we have been fortunate enough to have some of the best role models and leaders to work for,&uot; he said.

&uot;Over the years, we have watched many of our fellow officers and friends get promoted and become excellent leaders. It is now our turn to do the same and to walk in the footsteps they have left us.

&uot;This department has always set the standard for excellence and professionalism in law enforcement, and I know that we will do our best to uphold these standards as our careers continue to unfold.&uot;