South High School Alumnus Sergeant James Fuqua Becomes the Face of the Columbus Division of Police
September 25, 2019 -- James Fuqua use to walk the halls at South High School.
“There are Bulldogs everywhere in the city and I am one of them,” says Fuqua.
Now Sargeant James Fuqua wears a badge and protects the same community he grew up in.
“I’m a proud south-sider. I grew up on the south side of Columbus.”
Columbus will be seeing a lot of Fuqua now. He is the Public Information Officer for the Columbus Division of Police, also know as the “face” of the division.
“Growing up as a young man I didn’t necessarily have the best relationship with police officers, and I was unsure how that would translate into my adult life.”
Raised by a single mother, with a home full of brothers and sisters, Fuqua said his teenage years was a challenge.
“Because of the economic issues sometimes I had to relay on the school system to nutrition, whether it was breakfast or lunch. That propelled me into realizing at some point I’m going to make it out,” he says.
The Columbus native has fond memories at South High playing basketball on the auditorium stage.
“For any of us old heads that are from the 90s we still laugh about playing on the stage. I actually fell off the stage during a basketball game once,” something Fuqua cab now look back and laugh about.
And playing on the football team.
“I was a little skinny body with a big head. I think somehow my head shrank because it was bigger then and I had a little body,” he jokes.
He says it was a decision he made to learn about law enforcement when he was a student taking classes at the former Northwest Career Center, while attending South, that sparked his interest in police work.
“I went to the Northwest Career Center for a couple of years and when they came to school to give everyone an idea of the programs they had I saw the law enforcement program.”
The 1997 South High School alum, would then go on to join the United States Army. When he was released from active duty, Fuqua enrolled at Columbus State Community College. Unbeknownst to him, a little “jobs wanted” ad posted in the hallway at Columbus State would lead him to where he is today.
“I was in charge of the payroll for this department store where we hired off-duty Columbus Police to do special duty there. When I met them and befriended them I realized how cool they were."
That little spark that was lit in him as a student in high school, now became reality to pursue a career in law enforcement.
Graduating from the police academy in 2004, this 14-year-veteran of the force and an active member of the TAPS program, Teen and Police Services, Fuqua wants foster positive relationships with the youth and bridge the gap between officers and the same community he grew up in.
“If I can make it, anyone can make it. If I can do it I know there may be many other kids that are going through the same struggles that I went through with teenage depression. Growing up with not a lot of money, the best clothes, but because of these things if you could just focus on school no matter what else is going on around you, understand how important your academics are everything will work itself out.”