In Service to Camdenton: Chief Laura Wright reflects on four decades of policing

Camdenton Police Chief Laura Wright.

Spending over four decades working up the career ladder can be a difficult task. It takes determination and a true commitment to your craft. For Camdenton Police Chief Laura Wright, it has been a reality since 1979.

Wright says she has always had an interest in law enforcement, but originally didn’t know if the job would serve as a lifelong career.

Starting in a government work program as a secretary in 1979, Wright would eventually be hired by the city of Camdenton in April 1980. She would enroll in the police academy in 1980 and would be later classified as an officer. Wright continued with administrative duties with the city under her new classification until she was promoted to desk sergeant of the police department in 1990.

From this point forward, Wright says she worked on budget, various paperwork and scheduling under then police chief Elmer Meyer. When Meyer eventually moved on to the City Administrator role, Wright utilized her career work experience as a stepping stone to move into the position of Chief in 1999 and has remained there since. Now, as of October 15, Wright will retire from her position.

Looking back at four decades of service to the city of Camdenton, Wright says she has had many memories of the work she has accomplished. Highlighting them all, she says she is most proud of her nomination to take part in the FBI national academy in 2003. She says less than 1% of law enforcement members are allowed into the academy and have to be nominated and accepted before taking part. Over the 12 week training course, she learned many of the skills she still uses today.

Working around the lake and in Camdenton specifically has been a unique policing experience for Wright, who says it seems the balance of serving full-time residents and tourists in a fair and equal manner has been a priority for her service. She says she loves the community of Camdenton and the support they have always shown the police department.

Wright says that she decided to retire in order to give the department a fresh perspective moving forward. With national police relations at a stressful point, Wright hopes that the new chief can help bring in a new vision to keep the Camdenton Police moving forward and making progress. The city recently announced that Jeffrey Beauchamp would replace Wright as Chief.

The changes that have been made in the department have been countless in Wright’s time, especially in the tech field. Wright says they implemented portable breath tests, a rifle program, body cam program and more in her time. She says she remembers the day when the police department announced it would be creating its own webpage and thinking it was crazy at the time. She still remembers hand-writing police reports.

Wright says she is honored to have had such a long career serving Camdenton and thanks the community who have stood by and supported the department for the time she has spent as Chief.

“It’s been an honor to serve the community,” Wright said. “We are blessed to have community leaders that want to work together for the betterment of our community. We’re blessed to live in a community where we can put of opinions aside to work together.”