Above photo: Anthony Harvey poses with his Newman teammates and father after graduating from the Lawrence Police Department Basic Recruit Academy.
“If you want to see change, you have to be the change.”
Alumni Anthony Harvey has adopted that phrase, something he once heard from his hometown strength trainer, Kelly Barah, as a life motto. The message behind it is his “why” for becoming a police officer.
Harvey grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and the school resource officer at his middle school, now Lt. Myrone Grady, was a family friend and a huge inspiration for Harvey’s future career path.
Basketball was Harvey’s sport and one of the many reasons he chose to attend Newman University. But he said the main thing that brought him to Newman was to “finish what my brother started.”
Harvey’s brother, Reese Wright-Conklin, was a student-athlete at Newman, wrestling for the Jets from 2012 to 2015. His life was cut short as a result of a motorcycle accident. Harvey said, “I wanted to finish what he started. I wanted to get a degree from Newman and play basketball on the same court he wrestled on.”
His success on the court was high, helping his team set records and earning his place on the Heartland Conference President’s Honor Roll with a 3.5 GPA or higher many times during his stint at Newman.
Off the court, he was just as determined. Majoring in criminal justice, he knew exactly what he wanted his future career to be and went after it with passion. He graduated from Newman in 2020, and in September, started his training with the Lawrence Police Department’s Basic Recruit Academy.
He graduated the academy on March 5, 2021.
“Growing up, for my friends and I and the younger generation as a whole, there’s this sense of fear. You see a cop, you turn the music down and go a little slower,” said Harvey. “There has been so much going on, especially this past year, and some people have told me it’s a bad time to become a cop. I say there’s no better time. I want to make a change and now is the time.”
Harvey said mentors within the Newman community kept him going and were a big part of his higher education journey.
“Coach (Mark) Potter, Mo Floyd, Kristi Edwards and Jill Fort — they all made it great and I’ve never doubted anything I was going after because of them,” said Harvey. “These past six months have been the most difficult mentally, but I just kept thinking about all they did for me. God blessed me with a great education and with trials and tribulations. I know that’s important; not everything in life comes easy.”
Harvey said he was constantly asking questions and absorbing knowledge from his Newman mentors and still keeps in touch with them to this day.
Newman Director of Security, Morris “Mo” Floyd, is a retired police officer. Harvey was inspired by the knowledge, conversations and information Floyd provided and learned a great deal from that.
Yet it was the internship with the Wichita Police Department that Edwards and Fort, both professors of criminal justice at the time, helped Harvey land his senior year that made the biggest impact on his career aspirations.
“I owe them my life, I hope they realize that. Being in that internship gave me a real-world view of a large city’s police force. I put in more than 90 hours with that internship. I learned how to deal with many types of people and really grow professionally. There were some situations that got real serious real fast, but that drove me to protect the community and be an inspiring representative for police officers everywhere.”
Harvey would eventually like to become a school resource officer and inspire other kids along the way.
“Maybe they’ll see a former athlete and a younger cop and maybe those kids would look up to me and want to be part of the change, too.”