- June 29, 2020
Most police officers receive two or three commendation letters a year; Oakland Police Lt. Angela Campbell averages nine annually. That is in addition to the numerous awards and medals she has earned in her decade at the Oakland Police Department.
Her latest achievement is being promoted to lieutenant. She is now second in command and is the department’s commander of operations.
Chief John Peek said Campbell’s promotion is well-deserved because he can always count on her to step up in any capacity.
“The past three years, she was (the) detective for us,” he said. “She is outstanding in that role. She cleared so many felonies for us. Some of them, I thought they were going to be unresolved. …She’s done some amazing stuff. When it came time to promote, she was the obvious person.”
Campbell has close to 100 commendation letters – written by the three chiefs she has worked under, as well as many of the Oakland residents.
It is hard to compare her achievements to other officers, he said, but to put it in perspective, he has been with the department since 2007 and has about half the commendations Campbell has.
“The amount she acquires in a year is staggering,” Peek said.
Campbell attributes it to her efforts to build relationships with residents.
“I don’t just do police work,” she said. “It’s not just go to traffic stops and arrest people. I get involved in the community.”
In addition, Campbell has earned the Distinguished Service Medal and twice received the Chief Award Ribbon for exemplary service, duty and commitment to the town.
COMMITTED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT
It has always been Campbell’s dream to become a police officer. She was a member of the Police Explorers program from ages 14 to 18 and went to college to pursue a criminal law degree. The dream was set aside temporarily when she met her husband. They had two children, and she wanted to stay home with them.
Campbell was a stay-at-home mom for 12 years before making the decision, at age 39, to become a police officer. She graduated from the police academy in October 2009, applied at several agencies and ultimately chose Oakland, in part, because of its size.
“I like small town,” Campbell said. “My biggest thing is … (residents are) not just a number. … My residents — I know them, they know me. So I’ve watched these kids grow up since they were babies, and I can’t leave them.
“I can do so much good in a smaller town,” she said.
During her 10 years in Oakland, she steadily moved up the ranks: reserve officer, full-time officer, corporal, sergeant and lieutenant. She also served three years as the town’s police detective.
In addition to her policing duties, she has been involved in the town of Oakland’s Thanksgiving food drives, Christmas food and toy drives, car seat and bike helmet initiatives, and back-to-school supply parties.
Of all the accolades Campbell has received, several moments stand out. She earned a lifesaving award, and even though the man didn’t survive, officers, including Campbell, kept him alive long enough for his wife to say goodbye. She also remained in contact with a sexual assault victim whose case went to trial.
One particular arrest taught her a big lesson, one she has always remembered. She said she arrested a man about 21 years of age who constantly fought with police and had charges of battery on a law-enforcement officer. When she got him in the back of the police car, she asked him why he didn’t fight her.
“He said, ‘You’re the first officer who’s ever shown me respect,’” Campbell said. “So me giving a better light to this kid, totally respectful, turned around and gave me his hands. That was a big learning (moment).”
Campbell said she never set out to earn the most commendations. It’s something that has happened organically through her daily interactions with residents and her commitment to the community.
“I never worked anywhere else, and I don’t want to work anywhere else,” Campbell said. “I can do more (here).”
“Since she’s had (the lieutenant) job, she’s been doing a fantastic job,” Peek said. “I knew she would. She’s absolutely killing it.”