By Brad Hicks
A local police officer has been recognized by his alma mater for his continued excellence in the law enforcement field.
East Tennessee State University, during its Honors Day program on Thursday, April 20, awarded its Nicholas J. Carimi Jr. Distinguished Criminal Justice Professional Award to Todd Wilcox, an officer with the Erwin Police Department.
“My reaction to receiving the award is humbling, because there are so many other criminal justice professionals doing great things they could have chosen for the award,” Wilcox said Friday.
ETSU gives the award to Criminal Justice alumni who performed well in the university’s Criminal Justice program, currently work in the law enforcement field and continue to excel professionally.
The late Carimi, for whom the award is named, was a retired Memphis police inspector and Colonel with the Tennessee Air National Guard. He received a Juris Doctor degree from Memphis Law School and began working at ETSU in the department of social sciences in the law enforcement division in 1974. Carimi served as chair of the department for a time after the department received the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology status in 1979.
Carimi taught law enforcement and forensics classes at ETSU and served as the director of the Tennessee Civil Defense unit until his retirement in 2001.
“He was most interested in helping active police officers obtain their degrees,” Wilcox said of Carimi, who died in August 2004.
Wilcox, a Unicoi County native and 2001 Unicoi County High School graduate, earned his Bachelor of Science from ETSU in 2013. He has been employed with the Erwin Police Department since September 2010.
Prior to his employment with the EPD, Wilcox worked as a deputy for the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department from September 2007 to November 2009. He followed this stint by serving as an officer for the Wise, Va., Police Department from November 2009 to September 2010.
Wilcox also served with the 134th Security Forces Squadron of the U.S. Air Force National Guard at Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport from November 2006 to March 2008, and he served with the 78th Security Forces Squadron of the U.S. Air Force at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga., from February 2005 to November 2006.
Wilcox currently serves as a medic in the Army National Guard with the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
In July 2016, Wilcox was appointed to the Unicoi County Commission to fill the 3rd District seat left vacant by the May 2016 death of Commissioner Walter J. Garland, who himself was a former policeman for the town of Erwin and Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department.
Wilcox is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police and previously served on the Unicoi County Civil Service Board. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Homeland Security/Emergency Management at American Military University. Wilcox is set to finish his master’s in late May.
Wilcox said he found out he was receiving the Nicholas J. Carimi Jr. Distinguished Criminal Justice Professional Award after getting an email from the ETSU Criminal Justice Department. He said much of the credit for being named the recipient of the award lies with his current employer.
“I think it reflects positively on the Erwin Police Department and represents what the culture of the Erwin Police Department is about,” Wilcox said.