Creator of Opportunities
More than thirty years (30) years as an Executive Leader in government and non-profit setting, Tami Wyrick’s career began while attending college at Virginia Commonwealth University. Working her way through college, holding down a full-time job and full load of classes. Then she was elected the first female president of the professional law enforcement fraternity Lambda Alpha Epsilon (LAE). She went to part-time work to concentrate on being President of a professional fraternity. She excelled as President and developed skills in networking and creating opportunities for inclusion. She extended membership/benefits to the law enforcement agencies in the surrounding jurisdictions. By broadening the scope of the professional fraternity, she was able to organize the first statewide conference for LAE with a keynote by FBI profilers and ViCAP creators Robert Ressler and Roy Hazelwood. The conference had breakout sessions of other notable officers from local jurisdictions and a dinner meet/greet with Ressler/Hazelwood attended by more than one hundred law enforcement and college students. After the success of the conference and her leadership ability, she was chosen to write a grant for a unique position in a law enforcement agency as a non-sworn para-professional assisting in organizing neighborhood watch groups. The Richmond Police Department was awarded the grant by the Department of Criminal Justice Services in 1989. She received the position created and was hired in January of 1990.
Richmond, like many other law enforcement agencies, started Neighborhood Watch in the 1970’s but the program soon became a low priority with emphasis redirected to reactionary policing. In the late 80’s, the rapid rise in crime because of the crack epidemic and the mistrust of police in communities of color, police departments began developing new approaches to policing. One was utilizing non-sworn personnel in key positions to bridge the gap between the community and the police. Tami was the first experimental non-sworn person to assist redeveloping the trust through Neighborhood Watch. She was able to resurrect the dying program by assessing the needs of the community. She surpassed prior efforts of organizing Neighborhood Watch by dividing the city in natural boundaries and unique neighborhood. In this effort she was able to organize more than 1800 neighborhood watch programs, started citizen patrols, and engaged assistance from local religious leaders to reach troubled communities. She assisted in organizing community/law enforcement events bringing local celebrity sports figures to speak to the community at picnics and National Night Out parties. Under Chief Marty Tapscott, the Richmond Police adopted the philosophy of Community Policing. Tami was able to assist organizing the first east coast community policing conference and was a breakout presenter on community organization.
Tami joined the Central Virginia Crime Prevention Association (CVCPA) to network with other crime prevention and community policing officers in the metro area to share ideas and successes within their communities. She was able to assist in the development of guidelines for establishing successful Neighborhood Watch groups for the CVCPA. The culmination of her successes in the city prompted an article written about her in the national Police Chiefs magazine with emphasis on the success of non-sworn professionals in law enforcement. She was awarded Civilian of the Month several times during her tenure at Richmond Police. Tami was asked to be a part of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Crime Prevention Association (VCPA) and was elected as President of the Central Virginia chapter of the Virginia Crime Prevention Association (CVCPA). She continued working on the board in various positions throughout her entire career. Because of her work in crime prevention and her success in leadership roles, she was asked to become a consultant with the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) as part of a peer-to-peer program consultant assisting with the development of statewide crime prevention associations, community policing initiatives, and community engagement.
Tami assisted in the development of a job task analysis for state certification as a Crime Prevention Specialist. Virginia then became the first state to have a Crime Prevention Specialist program codified in the Virginia Administrative Code in 1996. She was one of the first to obtain certification as a Crime Prevention Specialist. Tami was recognized by her peers statewide and nationally as a leader in crime prevention and was elected as President of the Virginia Crime Prevention Association and as Vice President of the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). She was further honored for her innovative work by being selected to receive the prestigious O. W. Cundiff award for excellence in crime prevention. Tami began consulting with law enforcement agencies, government entities, corporations, and non-profit organizations across the U.S. Her expertise in crime prevention, community collaboration, safety plan design, working with vulnerable populations, stalking and workplace violence became widely recognized and in some instances touted as "best practices".
As a consultant, Tami has been a keynote and breakout session speaker at several conferences as a subject matter expert. Several of her seminars were filmed for LETN (law enforcement training network). One broadcast focused on developing individualized safety plans for executives, victims of crimes, freshman college students, seniors, and newly single or people living alone. The plan followed "a day in the life" approach and where a person can become safer as they go about their daily lives. It was not a cookie cutter approach but a thorough examination of habits that may make a person a target of crime. Tami assisted in organizing special events and conducting training on police/community relations in high-risk neighborhoods for the NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement) conference in Richmond, Va.; presented on community collaboration in high-risk neighborhoods at the East Coast Community Policing Conference in Richmond, Va. She was a presenter on creating Safe Neighborhoods and organizing neighborhood patrols/watch at the Housing and Urban Development Conference in New Orleans, La. She conducted several sessions on Safety Plan design, Stalking, community collaboration in high-risk neighborhoods, and Threat Assessments – the zone approach, at the National Community Policing Conference in San Antonio, Texas and in Washington, D.C. Her subject matter expertise in law enforcement and crime prevention and building relationships with communities, prompted her appointment to a variety of task forces to include the Golden Years (serial killing of elderly) and Route 29 Stalker (serial killing of women and girls along route 29). Her work on both task forces resulted in several news articles and awards.
Her work in the field of crime prevention resulted in her being recruited by the Department of Criminal Justice Services to become a grant monitor, mentor, and program manager of the state Certified Crime Prevention Program. As a grant monitor with Department of Criminal Justice services, she was assigned to the western half of Virginia. Tami quickly recognized additional stafffing and equipment needs of law enforcement agencies, so she developed public/private partnerships with local, state, and national government, corporations, and the military to bring equipment, resources, and funding to agencies in need. She was invited to be on the Governor’s Task Force for Workplace Violence and assisted with legislation and curriculum design for workplace violence training for state employees. After the attacks on 9/11, she was asked to join the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals. After meeting notables such as Gavin De Becker, national security specialist, and Lt. John Douglas from the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, a roundtable discussion ensued on mitigation and prevention procedures for future attacks. In subsequent meetings, members heard firsthand survivor accounts. Resoundingly, the consensus was security policies and procedures needed to be reviewed and hardening the target needed to be a priority. Back in Virginia, she convened roundtable discussion on the role of prevention in thwarting further attacks on our nation. It was at this point her and her training consultant partner, Scott Meyerhoffer designed and developed Threat Assessments for Large Facilities utilizing proven crime prevention techniques combined with tactical and military approaches to assessing threats. Our research showed the equipment given to police to “react” once the incident occurred, while helpful after the fact, did not change the outcomes. Our approach was to assess the threat, recognize the vulnerabilities, utilize crime prevention principles to delay, detect, and deter a crime/terrorist event from happening. We recognized one HUGE missing element was the human intelligence part of the equation. We developed survey instruments to be utilized for the users of the facility to find lapses in security. Each training was tailored to the site and an after action report was completed and delivered to the client. The training program was conducted at Kings Dominion, Liberty University, Regent University, Valley View Mall, James Madison University, Old Dominion University, FairfaxINOVA Hospital in northern Virginia, Norfolk International Airport, Tysons Mall, and PatrickHenry Mall (the program was delivered by Tami through DCJS and VCPA).
In 2006, Tami received a promotion to Assistant Section Chief in charge of crime prevention and law enforcement specialty training for the Commonwealth of Virginia. She was responsible for the review and certification process of all police Crime Prevention Specialists in Virginia. She resurrected the Certified Crime Prevention Community Program for counties in Virginia; designed and developed the Certified Crime Prevention Campus Program for colleges and universities; partnered with the Drug Enforcement Agency to deliver training on methamphetamine labs and safety for law enforcement; partnered with the National Retail Association and the Attorney General’s office to conduct training on Intellectual Property Theft and Fraud and links to terrorism; assisted in organizing Crime Analysis training and establishing the Virginia Crime Analysis Network for Virginia Crime Analysts. Through her contacts, she partnered with Alpha Group to deliver homicide cold case training for law enforcement, as well as profiling for serial crimes. She partnered with the Metro area Bomb Squads and trainers from several private military subcontractors, to conduct training on EOD's, VBIED's, post blast investigations, suspicious purchases to assist local law enforcement hone their skills on recognizing threats post 9/11.
The National Crime Prevention Council asked Tami to sit on a National Crime Prevention consortium to develop standards for a National Certification for Crime Prevention Specialists. The consensus was the best framework was mixture of Virginia and Ohio’s model of certification for crime prevention specialists recognizing Virginia was the only state with codified standards for Crime Prevention Specialists, and those standards were adopted for standards for the nation.
Because of her work on the national scale merging crime prevention with non-traditional partners and bringing the field to the table as a necessary component to security the homeland, Tami was recruited as the Executive Director of the Virginia Crime Prevention Association. She wrote and obtained grant funding to support the association through federal, state, local grant programs, as well as public/private partnerships. During this time, the VCPA won several national awards as “Best” Crime Prevention Association. She was asked by the National Crime Prevention Association to conduct peer to peer training for other states to assist in public/private partnerships, homeland security training and to reorganize the mission of state crime prevention associations. The VCPA was consistently on the forefront of setting the innovative and visionary training and leadership throughout Virginia and the Nation. She continued to offer her offer her assistance as a consultant on national crime trends and prevention techniques and utilizing partners, traditional and non-traditional, to get the job done. She was able to serve Virginia's law enforcement partners, national law enforcement agencies, and community organizations. She organized multiple large-scale events at little to no cost and was able to barter training for the VCPA to have office space and event, and training space to serve law enforcement agencies.
Tami was able to plan, organized, hire speakers, and managed 5 state-wide Crime Prevention conferences attended by law enforcement, private security, corporations, government agencies from across the state. She partnered with the Retail Merchant Association in Tidewater to conduct a statewide conference attended by businesses and law enforcement. She was able to sustain the Virginia Crime Prevention with funding and training for law enforcement when nationally crime prevention associations had to close due to lack of funding.
She was hired as a consultant to work with the National Crime Prevention Council in charge of the National Crime Prevention Association and the National Certification program and to act as a liaison with the National Board of Directors. In that capacity she was able to increase participation in the National certification program by more than 75% in the first year. Additionally, she was tasked with developing prevention programs with a variety of public sector partners. Acting as a program consultant she assisted with the development of standards for varying levels of national certification increasing the academics and testing of the certification programs.
Tami retired from full-time work in 2015 after being injured. However, she continued to consult with a variety of businesses, law enforcement agencies, and organizations. She provided grant writing services to state/local/private clients. She continued serving as a state/national speaker on crime prevention topics. She also partnered with a colleague as an independent consultant and business development professional to write requests for proposals for several large contracts to include Richmond 2015 UCI bike race. Our company had several notable clients to include Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook and Bishop T. D. Jakes. Her partner and colleague Charles D. Larkin provided security services and executive protection for both Zuckerberg and Jakes on trips outside the continental United States. They continued working together until he was hired to complete a project with the Department of Defense, and they dissolved the company.
Focusing on her health for a while, she was then asked to assist the Virginia Crime Prevention Association Past President Rick Crosier to assist in reestablishing crime prevention and community collaboration as a priority in law enforcement. This started first as a safer by design program through landscaping utilizing the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. Together they are focused to assist law enforcement and communities in the western area of Virginia where the majority of law enforcement agencies have 25 men or less. It is our mission to continue to assist creating safe and sustainable communities in Virginia.