Armed with Education

Nicholas SherwoodNicholas Sherwood, who grew up in Northford and graduated from North Branford High School in 1997, is the Deputy Chief – Professional Standards at the Meriden Police Department. He began working there in 2006.

“Since my childhood, I always wanted to serve as a police officer. It has been a calling for me. I enjoy serving in a profession where I can help others,” he said.

After high school, Deputy Chief Sherwood joined the United States Air Force Security Forces. He was stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, Kunsan Air Base in South Korea, and at Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina.

“Towards the end of my initial enlistment contract, I was scheduled to transfer into the Connecticut Air National Guard, 103rd Security Forces Squadron, where I was mobilized back to full active service for the Global War on Terror, Operation Noble Eagle. I served in that unit from September 2001 to February 2003,” added Deputy Chief Sherwood.

Upon receiving an honorable discharge from his military service, he joined the Hartford Police Department and worked as a patrol officer, a member of the Disorder Control Team, as well as a field training officer. After three years, he transferred to the Meriden Police Department to be closer to home.

At Meriden, Deputy Chief Sherwood worked in many roles from patrol officer to SWAT team operator to Support Services Division Commander before becoming deputy chief.

He also felt that earning a college degree would improve his chances of getting a promotion.

“While working as a sergeant in the Training Unit in 2014, a couple members of the Meriden Police Command Staff at the time, Captain Michael Zakrezewski and Lieutenant Sal Nesci (both MxCC alumni) encouraged me to sign up for classes at MxCC,” explained Deputy Chief Sherwood.

So starting in January 2015, he began attending classes at Middlesex Community College and continued as a student with a blend of online and in-person courses, both full- and part-time, depending on the semester.

“I even took summer classes to speed up my graduation. It was certainly challenging to balance work, family, and college, but definitely achievable and worth it,” he stated.

“Criminal justice is the degree of my profession and has helped me become a better police officer and leader,” said Deputy Chief Sherwood. “MxCC offered me numerous credits for attending the Police Academy, which was appreciated and helped me finish faster.”

He noted he particularly enjoyed the Philosophy of Ethics class as well as psychology, English, and government courses.

In 2016, he was inducted as a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was named on the college’s Dean’s List.

After earning his MxCC associate degree that same year, Deputy Chief Sherwood transferred to Post University. He remembers it was a fairly smooth and easy process, with Post accepting most of his credits. He received a Bachelor of Science in Management with a focus in leadership from there in 2018.

Currently, he is pursuing a Master of Science in Public Administration at Albertus Magnus College, and he hasn’t ruled out another degree and further career aspirations.

“I would like to pursue a teaching position within a college as an adjunct professor. I used to teach new officers and found I enjoyed the education and training aspect of my profession. I believe education is critical to achieving understanding of one another and it is vital to obtaining peace,” said Deputy Chief Sherwood.

“One of my favorite quotes is by Nelson Mandela, who stated, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,’” he added.

Deputy Chief Sherwood was promoted to his current role in January 2021. He feels blessed to have many career opportunities and said he worked hard to make the most of them.

“Serving as the Deputy Chief of Police is rewarding and challenging. I enjoy serving in a position where I can make decisions that help my officers and work to enhance their jobs, while at the same time helping members of the community as well,” he said. “Overseeing Professional Standards is especially important for me, as I want to ensure the high level of standards that is expected of police officers is maintained within my agency.”

He further explained, “The primary function of my job is to ensure we have solid policies and procedures in place that reflect the best practices of the policing profession. As everyone is aware, the policing profession has been under the microscope this past year, but I am happy to note that within the state of Connecticut and within the city of Meriden, we exceed most standards and expectations.”

Asked what advice he would give to today’s Middlesex students, Deputy Chief Sherwood answered, “Don’t give up. College can be challenging, tedious at times, overwhelming, and frustrating, but don’t quit. MxCC is a great school and the staff helped me every step of the way. In particular, I thank Rebecca Rist-Brown, who served as my criminal justice coordinator.”

Learn more about the criminal justice program at MxCC.

Written by Thea Moritz
August 2021