Listen: N.C.'s youngest police chief on how his challenging childhood gave him the wisdom needed to run his own PD
In the “Tying it Together” podcast, William Armstrong, 24, opens up about how he overcame the trials in his life – thanks to an officer who now works for him
By Joanna Putman
BROOKFORD, N.C. — In a new podcast, North Carolina’s youngest police chief talks about how his challenging childhood gave him the wisdom needed to run his department at 24 years old.
Armstrong was first inspired to become a police officer when he met a mentor at a skate park. The officer’s work appealed to him, he said, because of the instability in his own upbringing.
“I had grown up as a kid in foster care and group homes,” Armstrong said. “My parents were involved in domestics. My [parents were] alcoholics and on drugs. I didn’t really have any peace at home.”
The officer he met at the skate park saw that Armstrong’s visits were inconsistent. Armstrong said the months away from the park represented times in his life when his parents had fallen into their addiction habits and he was taken into foster care.
Armstrong said the respect given to the officer by the kids at the skate park, as well as the care he showed for Armstrong as a child, assured him that the officer was a “good guy.” That same officer now works for Armstrong.
Armstrong started working at 14 and moved out of his troubled home at 17. At 18, he became an EMT before finally achieving his dream of becoming a police officer.
Armstrong said that while he is young to be running a department, he believes his life experiences have shown him how to treat people: “People call me an old soul. I guess I’ve become an old soul because of everything I’ve been through.”