Sergeant Robert Carpentieri, originally from just outside of Buffalo, New York, has served as the Public Information Sergeant for the Virginia State Police Department for eight years. Carpentieri is responsible for the Salem division which encompasses fourteen counties.
The public might know him better as the voice of the Virginia Police Department as his job includes keeping the public informed by reporting things like traffic fatalities and accidents, criminal activity, and state police investigations by speaking directly with the media on these issues.
Carpentieri while still living in New York had aspirations of working in the New York Police Department but because the departments enormity it was nearly impossible for him to get involved. He claimed that he had always wanted to be a trooper and was able to fulfill his desire by moving to Virginia where he first worked for the Roanoke City Police Department.
Passionate about his job he mentioned the thing that he liked the best was the variety. “My job is intersting because I get to do something interesting every day,” Carpentieri said in an interview. Not only does his occupation require him to be a police officer but it often allows him to be a guidance counselor as well. “I want to let the people know that policemen do more than just write tickets,” Carpentieri explained. He dedicates a lot of his time to public safety programs with schools, civic organizations, retirement communities and job fairs in the business atmosphere. These programs include crime prevention tips and keeping the public informed about obscure laws.
More recently he participated in an event with a DUI/Texting Simulator geared toward the teenage generation to help them experience and better understand the consequences of drunk driving and texting while driving. Carpentieri also helped make a video for a high profile campaign at Virginia Tech about the Move Over Law to pass out to organizations.
Carpentieri explained that his job can be very stressful at times, especially when you work 9-5 and are on call the remainder of the time. “The phone rings a lot and people want to know things immediately most of the time but it is important that we don’t give out any information that could jeopardize an investigation” Capentieri says. But aside from the stress he admits that his job has allowed him some great opportunities and even to meet dignitaries and celebrities.
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In December Carpentieri was approached by a friend who wanted him and a few of the men at the police department to sign a card for a six year old boy she knew who is suffering from terminal cancer. Carpentieri agreed to do so and sent out some e-mails to some co-workers and pretty soon it had gone viral. The e-mail and information about this little boy had reached from little Virginia all the way to Japan. The little boy, Nathan Norman, from Rustburg, VA, did not only receive cards signed by prestigious peoples from all over the world but gifts and visits from police officers. He was even invited to Richmond by the govenor to light the Christmas tree.
He claims that his main goal is to represent the department well by promoting them in a positive way and leave the people with a good impressions. When he was informed that he would be on national television to talk more about the story of Nathan Norman he humbly said, “I appreciate the credit, but it’s not all about me, you know?” Sergeant Carpentieri has truly made a difference through his work and testimonies.
Emily Plecker, Special to So Salem