Anthony Wickersham knows all about working the midnight shift. Weekend bar rushes were always busy at the three Nugget restaurants his family owned and where he worked 12 hours a day, six to seven days a week, after graduating from Cousino High School in Warren. But, even more sunrises have been seen from the inside of a patrol car.
“The plan was to stay in the family business. But, after about 18 months, I knew I wanted to do something else,” says Wickersham. “Law enforcement sounded exciting and interesting.”
Wickersham graduated from Macomb’s Law Enforcement Program in 1984. He then worked his way through many ranks within the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office: corrections officer, deputy sheriff, undercover narcotics officer, sergeant, detective, head of the detective bureau, lieutenant, captain, chief of staff and, ultimately, Macomb County Sheriff, appointed in 2011 and elected in 2012.
“My number one priority as sheriff,” says Wickersham, “is to make sure the people in this department have what they need to keep themselves and the citizens they serve safe.”
Wickersham transferred from Macomb to Wayne State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Technical and Interdisciplinary Studies. A big believer in professional development, he has sought continued educational opportunities throughout his career. He completed intensive coursework at Northwestern University’s School of Police and Staff Command in Illinois and the FBI National Academy in Virginia, and he has also taken advantage of the training available in his own backyard.
“The advanced training at Macomb,” he says, “has made me a better police officer.”
It’s not surprising, then, that the sheriff, who is on call 24/7, welcomed the chance to join Macomb’s law enforcement faculty in 2017.
“It’s important to engage with the next generation in this field,” says Wickersham. “There are a lot of law enforcement jobs out there, and we need to sway the right individuals to pursue them.”
Wickersham is currently teaching Introduction to Corrections and Analysis of Terrorism at Macomb. One of the newest dispatchers in the sheriff’s office is a former student and, at least once a semester, Wickersham takes some class time to tell his students about current job openings in local law enforcement agencies. He also advises them on the two skills that are essential to good police work.
“You have to be able to listen, and you have to be able to communicate,” relates Wickersham. “That is what this job is all about.”
One of Wickersham’s sons completed Macomb’s Law Enforcement with Police Academy Program and is now an officer with a municipal police department in Macomb County. Another from the blended family he shares with his wife Lois has attended Macomb as a dual-enrolled high school student.
“Both my wife and I have tried to persuade our kids to go to Macomb because we know they are going to get a top notch education,” says Wickersham. “I’m proud to be a part of that.”
And what part of his 34-year career with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office does he take the most pride in?
“My ability to understand the needs of the men and women who work here,” says Wickersham. “When my staff wakes up, I want them to be proud to come to work.”