ECUPD officers Sugg, Davis participate in swearing-in ceremony

The East Carolina University Police Department (ECUPD) held a swearing-in ceremony on Monday in TowneBank Tower as Jason Sugg was promoted to chief of police and Amy Davis was promoted to captain.

After taking the oath, Sugg spoke to ECUPD officers as well as university and community members in attendance about the importance of doing the right, fair and reasonable thing in all situations.

“In what we do, it’s tough to make promises, but I feel confident that I can make these. First, I promise you that I’m always going to try and do the right thing. I feel like during the time I’ve spent here, I’ve always tried to do the right thing. I feel very confident as a department and with the folks we have here we’ve always tried to do the right thing. If there are instances where we’re not sure what the right thing is, I promise you that I’ll always try to do the fair thing. Sometimes if the fair thing is something we’re struggling to figure out, I can promise that I’ll always try to do the reasonable thing. I feel confident that I can promise you those things. In the time I’ve spent with this agency, hopefully I have demonstrated that to you,” Sugg said.

Despite taking on a new role, an open-door policy that Sugg has had during his career is something that he doesn’t plan to change.

“If I’m in the building, my door is open,” said Sugg. “Please don’t hesitate if you want to talk about something, it’s OK to do that. I need to know if you have ideas, see challenges, or things we need to talk about.”

A 24-year ECUPD veteran, Sugg was appointed chief of ECUPD on Oct. 23 after serving as the deputy chief since 2013. Additionally, he recently served as the interim police chief at Elizabeth City State University and filled the role of interim chief in 2013 and 2016 at ECU. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has undergraduate degrees from ECU and the University of Oklahoma, as well as a Master of Public Administration degree from Penn State University. The Snow Hill native is a doctoral candidate at ECU in the rhetoric, writing and professional communication program.

An opportunity that lies ahead for ECUPD comes from a combination of communication and partnerships, Sugg said.

“One area that is both a challenge and opportunity is communication and partnerships,” explained Sugg. “Through communication, you can develop partnerships and if you develop good partnerships, you can have better communication, it’s kind of a circular thing. We have some great partnerships with a lot of different areas including students, faculty, staff, the community and in the UNC system as well as off-campus in the city, but I think something we can improve upon is identifying areas where we haven’t been as active or traditionally haven’t been and work to form relationships with those individuals or groups.”

(ECU Photo by Rhett Butler)

(ECU Photo by Rhett Butler)

Davis was appointed to captain after serving as a lieutenant since 2013. A member of ECUPD since 1997, Davis has served the department in a variety of roles during her tenure. She has served on patrol, in community affairs and investigations, and most recently was a lieutenant over the office of professional standards. In her new role, Davis will oversee support services, which include telecommunications, investigations, community affairs and the records division.

“I love working for the university,” said Davis. “You meet and get to work with so many different people every day, whether it’s with ECU or with different agencies. ECU is like my family, and I’m excited to be in this position and learn new things.”

Both Davis and Sugg possess an understanding of ECU but have traits that allow them to make an impact beyond the campus boundaries, said Capt. Chris Sutton.

“They understand the culture at ECU,” Sutton said. “In understanding the culture at ECU, they understand the culture of our police department as we’re just an extension of the institution. Having a culture that breeds respect, trust and integrity are cornerstones that you want your agency to build on. To be student focused, student centered, and the ability to be a resource for our students as well as our faculty and staff is important, and they have exhibited those qualities for their entire career.”

The ECUPD serves as a model for community policing and law enforcement. It is one of two law enforcement agencies in North Carolina and the UNC System to have attained dual accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. The department employs more than 60 sworn officers and civilian staff.

(ECU Photo by Rhett Butler)