MOORESVILLE – The Town of Mooresville’s new police captain, Wayne Morris, was born in Germany and traveled the world as a professional basketball player before deciding to pursue a career in law enforcement.
As a new resident of Mooresville, Morris said he’s most excited to meet fellow residents and “bring a unique experience to the table to help our community become even better.”
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Mooresville Citizen: What was it like to grow up in Germany?
Wayne Morris: I was born in Germany, as my father was stationed there through the military. We moved throughout Germany and various other countries overseas as I was growing up and learned many different customs and enjoyed my godparents, who were German.
MC: For how much of your life did you play basketball? What was it like to do it professionally?
WM: I started playing basketball around 8 or 9 years old as a way to keep busy and run off extra energy I had as a child. My mother actually taught me how to play and would often hold her arms outstretched in a circular shape and allow me to shoot the ball at her. She continued to push me toward all sports, but basketball was our time together. Growing up I played basketball, football, baseball and ran track and field. My mother believed I should stay active with sports; however, I grew so tall so fast – 6-foot to 6-foot-5-inches by 13 years old – she insisted that I take ballet in order to get better coordination. I stayed with ballet for two years, and that participation helped me to balance myself and use my body to move without much effort. This was critical for my success in basketball along with all the sports I participated in. … I enjoyed my professional career overseas as I was able to see more of the world and do something I loved. I was able to travel from Limerick, Ireland; London, England; Amsterdam in the Netherlands; throughout Germany; Cypress, Greece; Sundsvall, Sweden; Finland; and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, to name a few.
MC: What inspired you to pursue a career in law enforcement?
WM: I began my career in law enforcement in my wife’s hometown of Tarboro, N.C., and this allowed me to reach out and help the youth there. I witnessed young teenagers who wanted to have something constructive to do but no one they could relate to. After completing BLET (Basic Law Enforcement Training) at Wilson Technical Community College, I helped to form a partnership of the Tarboro Police Department and the Town of Tarboro Parks and Recreation and held several basketball camps for the area youth, which helped to produce several high school standouts and college athletes. Service to our community has always been instilled in me through my family and high school and colleges. At every level some mixture of community service was expected. After a couple of years with the Tarboro Police Department, I transitioned to the Rocky Mount Police Department and quickly rose in rank and responsibility. I continued to help our youth in the City of Rocky Mount through basketball and helped to organize several all-area Law Enforcement Basketball Tournaments as a way to allow the community to see their officers, deputies, detention officers, etc. in a different light.
MC: What are you most excited for in this new role as police captain?
WM: I am most excited about meeting our community and developing relationships, which will help to strengthen the Town of Mooresville. This is a wonderful place to live, work and meet good people. I look forward to the new partnerships and bringing a unique experience to the table to help our community become even better.
MC: What are your three biggest goals for this job?
WM: The three biggest goals I have for this position would be to get to know everyone possible in the town and all employees and allow everyone to know me as not only the officer here to serve but the person here to live. The next goal I would have is to help our vision with the police department to be the very best department in North Carolina by offering the very best customer service and response. An additional goal I have is to impart my experiences to our officers and assist in any way I can to help each one move forward with the best training and education possible. I truly believe with the proper training and education, your law enforcement officers will be successful in serving our community. I want to help our youth continue to find their way in life and become as successful as their hearts want through positive interactions with all of our law enforcement officers.