Coastal Carolina University investigator named Officer of the Year by national association
Four awards are given annually at NACSA’s conference: the Medal of Excellence and the director, supervisor and officer of the year awards. Agencies from across America submitted applications to be considered for the awards, according to Victor Morrow, NASCA’s executive director. Kessler was unanimously selected from the pool of finalists.
“Kessler is a prime example of what it takes to be a successful law enforcement officer in today’s environment,” said Chief David Roper, director of CCU DPS. “He possesses a strong passion for duty, unquestionable integrity, and a desire to make Coastal Carolina safe for students, faculty, staff and the thousands of visitors who come to campus each year.”
Kessler’s supervisor, Lt. Matthew Crawford, nominated him for the award.
“I am honored,” Kessler said. “It feels great for all of my hard work to be recognized. Being in the spotlight is not something I particularly enjoy, so this is awesome and very uncomfortable at the same time.”
Kessler has been with CCU DPS since October 2014 after a stint with the Conway Police Department. He served in the military for eight years after graduating from Carolina Forest High School in 2005 and was deployed several times before retiring in 2013 to pursue his law enforcement career.
Since becoming a police officer, ridding the community of illicit narcotics has become his personal mission, he said, due to losing more fellow soldiers to narcotics abuse related to PTSD than to enemy combatants. He credits his supervisors for giving him opportunities to train and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to make a positive difference in the community.
“Under the direct supervision of Lt. Matthew Crawford and Lonnie Fleming, I was trained on how to police in an extremely dynamic environment such as a college campus,” Kessler said. “Both supervisors recognized my drive and ambition.”
It’s because of those qualities that Kessler was asked to be part of a narcotics unit that operated in the Horry County area in 2016, which he says resulted in “a vast amount of training, knowledge and experience that greatly enhanced my abilities as an investigator specializing in narcotics.”
When not on duty, Kessler enjoys going to the gym and fishing. He is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from American Military University with a concentration on organizational leadership, and he is on track to graduate this year. He eventually would like to work for SLED as a narcotics agent.
“I look forward to what the future holds for my career, and I will continue my relentless push to rid our area of illicit narcotics,” he said.
The NACSA conference is scheduled for July 23-27 in Orlando, Fla. NACSA serves as a support organization to campus safety professionals, and its mission is to provide training and networking opportunities to campus safety professionals across America. Visit mynacsa.com.