Lt. Curtis L. Cook of Christiansburg, Virginia, retired police officer with the Virginia Tech Police Department, received the university’s 2015 Staff Career Achievement Award.
Cook retired from his position in 2014 after 17 years of service.
Created in 2011 to recognize retiring Virginia Tech staff members, the Staff Career Achievement Award is presented annually to as many as five individuals who have distinguished themselves through exemplary performance and service during their university careers. Nominees must have served a minimum of 10 years at Virginia Tech. Each recipient is awarded a $1,000 cash prize.
“Lt. Cook enjoyed a stellar law enforcement career as a member of the Virginia Tech Police Department,” said Sherwood Wilson, vice president for administration. “He took great pride in his ability to teach others and always researched the latest training techniques to ensure members of the police department received the best and most up-to-date training possible. He was a great student of law enforcement and a great leader within the department.”
Cook already had 11 years of law enforcement experience when he joined the Virginia Tech Police Department in 1997. He brought critical emergency response skills learned at another agency and in the military to Tech's Emergency Response Team.
Cook’s impact within the department and in the Virginia Tech community grew as a designated field training officer, bike officer, firearms instructor, and defensive tactics instructor. He later became the department's homeland defense instructor, an ALERRT (active shooter) instructor, a general police instructor, a chemical weapons instructor, and pepper spray instructor.
In 2000, Cook was assigned to the department’s investigations unit as a detective and was promoted to operations lieutenant in 2007.
He was named the department’s Emergency Response Team leader in 2007, and his tactical skills proved critical on April 16, 2007. Cook led a team of first responders into Norris Hall that day. He and his team not only helped end the shootings, but they also provided immediate life-saving assistance to several wounded people.
Cook was also a member of the department’s dignitary protection unit and underwater recovery team. A former U.S. Navy rescue swimmer, he excelled at underwater recovery and helped make the Virginia Tech Police Department team one of the best in Southwest Virginia.
Because of his many certifications, Cook provided specific types of instruction not only on campus, but also to other law enforcement agencies and students at the Cardinal Criminal Justice Academy.
Cook supported several community athletic events, including the 3.2-Mile Run in Remembrance and the Derek Crouse Memorial 5K.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.