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Alumni Profile: Kris Ward

Kris Ward ‘99 focuses his career in law enforcement on serving the greater good.

  Tuesday, July 24, 2018
  Alumni
Kris Ward
Kris Ward

Sgt. Kris Ward feels called to police work. “With this job, you don’t do it for the money,” he says. “You do it because you want to serve a purpose in the community.”

Employed by the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office, Ward has built his career around making a positive difference. He fondly recalls his days at Christopher Newport, residing in Santoro Hall, playing baseball for the Captains and studying governmental administration with a criminal justice concentration – something that helped shape his vocational path.

Now, with nearly 17 years in law enforcement, he enjoys an accomplished career that occasionally places him in life-and-death situations.

Ward’s first such experience occurred two months after he completed field training, when a distraught woman drove her car into a pond. Without hesitation, Ward shed his police gear in the November cold, dove into the water and – aided by fellow deputies – broke the car’s window, pulling the woman to safety. For these efforts, each officer earned the Commonwealth Public Safety Medal of Valor.

A second incident involved another likely distraught woman, but this time one who was armed. After securing the location where she was hiding, officers prepared to make contact after being told no weapons remained on site. Yet when they approached her, the woman sat up holding a gun.

“I must have been 10 feet from her and had a ballistic shield in front of me,” Ward says. “I’m standing at the threshold of the bedroom door, looking right at her. She sits up, and we’re having a staring contest. It’s almost like we’re literally looking in each other’s souls, and I’m trying to tell her, ‘Please don’t point this gun at me.’”

As the woman raised her weapon, likely to harm herself, another officer tased her. Ward then seized the woman’s gun, and she ultimately expressed gratitude to the officers who saved her life. “It was all of us coming together and making good decisions at the right time to see a positive end to the situation – a calm end, and she got the necessary help,” he says.

More recently, Ward witnessed a man at Williamsburg’s Water Country USA crash a vehicle after suffering cardiac arrest. Ward checked the man’s pulse, realized he wasn’t breathing and initiated CPR. Then, as Ward began a fourth set of compressions, the man’s eyes started to move.

“It was an amazing feeling, doing CPR on somebody and being able to bring him back, to save his life like that,” Ward says. “Sometimes you step back and think, wow, that really did just happen.”

For the past two years Ward has served as a department supervisor and is joined on staff by his wife, Shelley, the team’s public information officer. And even though he’s chosen a stressful and unpredictable line of work, he wouldn’t choose any other profession. “Should I have to miss work, I hate it. If something were to happen and I wasn’t there, I could never live with myself,” Ward says. “I have to be there; that’s the feeling and calling I have.”


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