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* Hampton City News

Posted on: July 28, 2023

Hampton native Wideman sworn in as chief of police

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 July 28, 2023 — Hampton native Jimmie Wideman was sworn in on Friday afternoon as the chief of police in his hometown.

 Wideman follows former chief Mark Talbot, who was hired in 2021 after a search process in which Wideman was considered by the committee to be the next highest-ranked candidate. When Talbot departed this spring, City Manager Mary Bunting said, the search committee came to a quick consensus. “Chief Wideman had been a very, very strong candidate at the time,” Bunting said. “Everyone agreed: ‘Why repeat the process? Let’s go get Chief Wideman.’”

 She pronounced herself “ecstatic” to be introducing Wideman and said she expected him to “take us to new levels of excellence, innovation, and leadership in the nation.” Mayor Donnie Tuck described Wideman as “an individual who seems to be right off the recruiting poster for public safety and public service.”

 Wideman, a graduate of Bethel High School, began his service to Hampton as a volunteer with the Northampton Fire and Rescue Squad at the age of 16. He attended the Tidewater Regional Fire Academy after graduating from Bethel High School in 1987 and joined the Hampton Fire and Rescue Division as a Medic Firefighter in 1988. He also worked for the Hampton Newport News Community Services Board as a Social Detox Technician. In 1994, he joined the Hampton Police Division and had several assignments, including public information, special projects, recruiting and several command assignments in investigative services, professional standards, and a firearms enforcement task force. He rose through the ranks before retiring as a captain in 2019. Since that time, Wideman has served the Department of the Air Force as an intelligence analyst for the Law Enforcement Division in Quantico, Va., providing tactical and strategic analysis to investigations and operations in support of the Air Force’s law enforcement mission.

Wideman invoked the memory of past chiefs and spoke highly of every man and woman who currently serves in the Hampton Police Division.

“Leadership already resonates in the police division,” he said. “I just hope I can be the conduit so you can take advantage of that and capitalize on it. Since coming back to these halls, I’ve seen so many great examples of leadership. … It’s impossible for me to detail all of them to you. Leadership is not predicated on the rank or your station in the organization. Everyone is expected to step in, fill the gap and become a leader. Inclusion — all members have a voice. I want to allow that to happen.”

Wideman was sworn in by the Honorable Michael A. Gaten, chief judge of the Hampton Circuit Court. He was greeted on stage by Kenneth Ferguson, who has served as interim deputy chief.

 Wideman begins as chief on Monday, July 31.

 “We’ve chosen a difficult profession,” he said. “The majority of the community supports us. They want to do their part to help us achieve our law enforcement mission. Never should we take that trust in authority for granted, or take our position for granted. There should be no tolerance for mediocrity, laziness or incompetence. Just as in our oath, on our honor we will never betray our integrity, our character, or the public trust.”

You can watch a video of the ceremony here.

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