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Police1 talks with Alison Funaiock about her role as a police captain

Funaiock discusses her role as a police captain, how SWAT prepared her for leadership and her vision for women’s roles and promotion in law enforcement

With 18 years of service, Newport News (Va.) Police Department Captain Alison Funaiock has taken on various challenging roles, demonstrating resilience, commitment and a passion for law enforcement.

From her early days growing up in Newport News to her journey through patrol, SWAT and community outreach, Funaiock shares her experiences, insights and the significant health challenges she overcame to become a leader in her field.

Funaiock’s law enforcement journey began at Virginia Tech, where she studied psychology. She later pursued graduate studies in criminal justice at Virginia Commonwealth University, participating in the Public Safety Institute program. This experience solidified her interest in local law enforcement, leading her to join the Newport News Police Department in 2006.

Throughout her career, Funaiock has taken on various roles, including seven years in patrol, serving in the Honor Guard and becoming a member of the SWAT team. Her three-year stint as a SWAT sniper taught her to remain calm and think through all possible outcomes in high-stress situations, preparing her for future leadership roles.

Currently, Funaiock oversees Community and Youth Outreach, managing school resource officers and coordinating numerous outreach efforts, including 39 programs aimed at building strong, trusting relationships between the police and the community. Her dedication to proactive engagement is evident in her work with the Young Adult Police Commissioners program, where high school students learn about the police department and share their experiences and concerns.

Despite significant health challenges, including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, Funaiock has never let these obstacles hinder her career. Her perseverance and determination inspire many, demonstrating that physical limitations do not define one’s ability to lead and inspire.

In the video above, Funaiock discusses her role as a police captain, how SWAT prepared her for leadership and her vision for women’s roles and promotion in law enforcement.

Read the full interview here.

Sarah Calams, who previously served as associate editor of and, is the senior editor of and In addition to her regular editing duties, Sarah delves deep into the people and issues that make up the public safety industry to bring insights and lessons learned to first responders everywhere.

Sarah graduated with a bachelor’s degree in news/editorial journalism at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Have a story idea you’d like to discuss? Send Sarah an email or reach out on LinkedIn.