By JEN CARDINES
Town Councilor Edward Pocock III missed the Town Council meeting last week, but that’s because the retired Southington Police Department captain was being formally honored in South Carolina as the 2017 Alumnus of the Year by the Southern Police Institute (SPI).
On Thursday, July 13, Pocock attended an annual training conference in North Myrtle Beach where he was presented the award.
SPI, located at the University of Louisville’s Department of Criminal Justice, was established in 1951 and is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious law enforcement executive training institute. Each year, the SPI recognizes a former graduate who has served in law enforcement with this distinction.
To receive the award, a person must demonstrate the ability to interact positively in their community, successfully manage and implement organizational change, serve as a role model and mentor to future police leaders, and be an active participant in the Alumni Association.
Pocock met all of those qualifications and then some.
Toward the end of his police career, Pocock started the Administrative Officers Course (AOC), which then led to his master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Louisville.
“I completed one-third of the degree on-campus and the rest online from Southington,” he said.
Pocock served as his class vice president and graduated the institute’s 129th AOC in May 2014. Though he described the courses as rigorous and tough, he graduated as a dean’s scholar with successful completion of the program with A grades across the board.
Pocock’s law enforcement service spanned over a quarter century in the Southington Police Department leading to his retirement in 2014 as Southington’s operations captain. The retired officer also shares experience and advice as an elected official on the Town Council, and he was previously involved with the Board of Police Commissioners.
“Pocock was chosen as alumnus of the Year for his passion for SPI and the University of Louisville’s educational opportunities,” officials said in a press release.
Following his retirement, Pocock became chairman and trustee of the J. Allen Lamb and Edward S. Pocock III Foundation’s board of directors. The foundation actively provides money for students pursuing degrees in higher education and law enforcement to attend leadership and management programs at SPI.
“He is creating a legacy for New England law enforcement with his energy and generous support of training,” SPI director Cindy Shain said in the release.
Pocock set up four distinct scholarships involving the University of Louisville to ensure that New England students get the opportunity to attend the school.
“I think it’s the most unique institution in the United States, and we need more people from Connecticut to go down there,” Pocock said.
In addition, Pocock serves as a frequent guest speaker at AOC on the topic of “police politics” and presents lectures for the command officer development course. He said his lectures focus on police relationships within communities, because many areas have a clear division between law enforcement and the general public.
“We have been so fortunate in Southington and in Connecticut where there is a close-knit relationship with the police,” Pocock said. “Not all communities are like that.”
The ceremony recognized Pocock for his achievements and officially named him the 2017 Alumnus of the Year. Surrounded by his family and peers, he said it was a very humbling experience to accept the award.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.