RICHMOND, Va. -- Some Central Virginia police chiefs now lead the departments where they were born and raised. Others have traveled halfway around the world before calling Central Virginia their home.
Hopewell Police Chief Kamran Afzal was born in Karachi, Pakistan.
"My dad was a Naval Officer, so we moved from Karachi to Northern Part of Pakistan and back to Karachi, then another town called Pindi and then finally back to Karachi before we immigrated to the U.S.," Chief Afzal said. "My mom and I came April 20, 1982. I still remember that."
Afzal grew up in Northern Virginia and attended George Mason University with the goal of becoming a banker.
That plan changed when he saw a job listing for a police officer.
"I instantly knew that this was the right decision for me," he said.
Afzal began his career with the U.S. Capitol Police and then the Arlington Police Department.
He was on the job Tuesday, September 11, 2001, when terrorists flew a hijacked plane into the Pentagon.
"Those are once in a lifetime kind of events that I don't think anybody is ever prepared to deal with but you do," he said about his time at the Pentagon after the attack.
A time, he said, that helped shape him into the person he is today.
"I consider myself American of Pakistani decent," he said. "I really don't consider myself just Pakistani."
Mona Afzal, his wife of 26 years, said her husband found the perfect landing spot in Hopewell.
"He can retire if he wants to, I think he's too young and he's a good, good person and good cop and I think he should be in this field," Mona Afzal said. "We're very comfortable where we are, we are here, living the American Dream."
Chief Afzal agreed with his wife's assessment.
"It's definitely the American Dream, but I mean a lot of people live the American Dream, you don't have to be an immigrant to live the American Dream," Chief Afzal said. "It's always about improving things for others, as much as you can and hopefully leaving things in a better place than you found it."
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