From Creighton Court to the court of law: One-on-one with Richmond Sheriff Antionette Irving
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Sheriff Antionette Irving has dedicated her life to law enforcement, rising to a level in her career that few women have reached.
Sheriff Antionette Irving wears more than one badge. The one she’s earned pinned on her uniform, and the one deeply rooted in her love for the city.
“Great things come out of Creighton Court and as I say, great things come out of RPS,” Sheriff Irving said.
Richmond molded Sheriff Irving into who she is today - and that is a badge of honor in and of itself. That desire to serve started at a young age.
“I wanted to be anybody or anything that was helping people or doing the right thing in life,” Irving said.
Irving says her father suffered from PTSD after serving overseas. She witnessed domestic violence and substance abuse in the home - and violence in the community, but she wanted more.
“It’s not where you start, it’s how that story ends,” Irving said.
It’s a message she takes on the road to some of the more violence-prone portions of the city - where good kids can still thrive.
“Those are my neighborhoods. So now I’ll just pull up in the neighborhood and go and walk and talk to the kids,” Irving said.
Her hope is to empower them with the ability to make good decisions and avoid negative results.
“A lot of people here I’ve grown up with, some people I have grown up with their family members, their parents, and now they’re here,” Irving said.
However, there are services and programs at the jail that can prepare an inmate to transition back into society - hopefully better than they came. Like earning a GED, taking college-level courses, or learning a trade.
“Everyone wants to do forklifting because that’s a skill that you can take with you in a job that you can get that can sustain your family,” Irving said.
But that’s not all. The holidays come with toy drives for the kids the inmates left at home and food drives throughout the year.
“Their family members communicate with them regularly and they’re going to tell them that, you know, there was a community food drive, the distribution, and we came and for that reason, we at this week. We are also working on making sure the individuals leave here, having housing, they have their Medicaid, that they have mental health resources, they have substance abuse resources that they can continue on the right path,” Irving said.
Taking office in 2018, Sheriff Irving is one of less than 60 women leading a Sheriff’s department across the county - one of only nine in Virginia.
It’s a responsibility she doesn’t take lightly because she knows what it took to get here, and as she continues to build a positive relationship between her officers, the inmates, and the community she has a friendly reminder to those who may not have the best impression of law enforcement.
“We care. We’re human. Our families live in these communities, and we want to make sure that everyone’s taken care of,” Irving said.
Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.
Want NBC12’s top stories in your inbox each morning? Subscribe here.