Biography of the Sheriff

Sheriff. Ennis W. Wright
Sheriff. Ennis W. Wright

Sheriff Ennis Wright is a native of Cumberland County, North Carolina. He was born and raised in Fayetteville on a dirt road called Simmons Street. In his youth he was a team player and enjoyed sports especially basketball, baseball and football.

While attending Terry Sanford High School, he was given the nickname “Silky Smooth” by sports editor Earl Vaughan Jr because he was an outstanding basketball player. Prior to graduating, he was named the Most Valuable Player in the Class of 1978. Wright earned a basketball scholarship to Caldwell Community College in Lenoir, North Carolina.

In 1980, he decided to take a sabbatical from college and joined the United States Army. Sheriff Wright attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. His military occupational specialty was a track and wheel mechanic. Deservedly, he was awarded Honor Graduate of his class. He graduated from the Systems Mechanic Primary Technical Course at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland.

Other assignments included Fort Stewart, Georgia, Germany, and Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland. His positions included Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant and Drill Sergeant. During his military service he received various laudatory comments, accolades, and decorations. He ended his military career honorably after 11 years of service.

In 1994, Sheriff Wright began his law enforcement career with the Spring Lake Police Department after attending Basic Law Enforcement Training at Robeson Community College in Lumberton, North Carolina. He served and protected the Town of Spring Lake for three years as a Patrol Officer.

During the summer of 1997, Sheriff Wright joined the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office as a Road Deputy so he could serve and protect the entire County of Cumberland.

Sheriff Wright transitioned as a member of the Motors Unit in 1999 where he quickly rose to the rank of Senior Sergeant in 2003.  Wright was not only in charge of the Motors Unit, but was also tasked with being responsible for the Support Section of the Sheriff’s Office.  Three years later, Sheriff Wright was promoted to the rank of Captain. He was assigned as the Deputy Patrol Commander and assisted in running the Operations Division.

A year later, in June 2007, Sheriff Wright was promoted to Major and was assigned as the Operations Division Commander. There, he  was in charge of the Operations Division that consist of the Uniform Patrol, F Platoon (Reserves), Community Policing, Support, Motors, Sex Offender Registration, Canine Unit (K-9), Nuisance Abatement, Training, The Hazardous Device Unit (Bomb Squad), School Resource Officers, Interstate Criminal Enforcement, Criminal Intelligence Unit (Gangs) and the Special Response Team (SRT).

Upon selection as Chief Deputy under Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler, Wright assumed supervision of the entire Sheriff’s Office in February 2014. Under his command, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office continued to be internationally accredited as an exemplary agency, recognized for its achievement and leadership.

During his Law Enforcement Career Sheriff Wright completed the Police Law Institute and received certification from the Department of Justice, State of North Carolina, North Carolina Sheriff Training and Standards Commission. He earned the Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Law Enforcement Certificates as well as the North Carolina Advanced Service Award and completed the Southeast Region Criminal Justice Training in Advanced Police Motorcycle Riding and Tactical Skills.

Upon the retirement of Sheriff Butler, Ennis Wright was appointed by the county commissioners to serve as Sheriff of Cumberland County on January 3, 2017. He finished Sheriff Butler’s term and then campaigned for the Office of Sheriff.

In October 2017, Sheriff Wright initiated The Citizens Academy, which is a great asset in connecting and educating the community regarding the services provided by Sheriff Wright’s Office and his team.  To this day the academy continues to thrive and connect citizens and law enforcement.

On November 6, 2018, Sheriff Wright was elected as the first African-American Sheriff of Cumberland County. After reelection in 2022, Sheriff Wright again proudly took his oath of office to serve all the citizens of Cumberland County.

Sheriff Wright  is a member of the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association and is currently serving his 29th year as a law enforcement officer.

Admin. Assistant – Karen Norris– (910) 321-6782