Ennis W. Wright is the first African American Sheriff of Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina. He’s a native of Cumberland County, North Carolina, born and raised by Mary Malloy Wright in Fayetteville on a dirt road called Simmons Street. In his youth he enjoyed sports especially basketball, baseball and football. While attending Terry Sanford High School, he was given the nickname “Silky Smooth” by sports editor Earl Vaughan Jr. because he was an outstanding basketball player. He was named the Most Valuable Player in the Class of 1978 and earned a basketball scholarship to Caldwell Community College in Lenoir, North Carolina.
In 1980, Wright took a sabbatical from college and joined the United States Army. While serving in the Army he was named a squad leader and platoon sergeant and drill sergeant. He also received various laudatory comments, accolades, and decorations for his honorable years of service.
During the summer of 1997, Wright joined the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office as a Road Deputy serving all of Cumberland County. In 1999 he transitioned to the Motors Unit and quickly rose to the rank of Senior Sergeant in 2003 where he was responsible for the Support Section of the Sheriff’s Office. Three years later, Wright was promoted to the rank of Captain and assigned as the Deputy Patrol Commander assisting in running the Operations Division.
In June 2007, Wright was promoted to Major and assigned as the Operations Division Commander in charge of the Operations Division that consist of the Uniform Patrol, F Platoon (Reserves), Community Policing, Support, Motors, Sex Offender Registration, Canine Unit (K-9), Nuisance Abatement, Training, The Hazardous Device Unit (Bomb Squad), School Resource Officers, Interstate Criminal Enforcement, Criminal Intelligence Unit (Gangs) and the Special Response Team (SRT).
Upon selection as Chief Deputy under Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler, Wright assumed supervision of the entire Sheriff’s Office in February 2014. Under his command, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office continued to be internationally accredited as an exemplary agency, recognized for its achievement and leadership.
During his Law Enforcement Career Sheriff Wright completed the Police Law Institute and received certification from the Department of Justice, State of North Carolina and the North Carolina Sheriff Training and Standards Commission. He earned the Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Law Enforcement Certificates as well as the North Carolina Advanced Service Award and completed the Southeast Region Criminal Justice Training in Advanced Police Motorcycle Riding and Tactical Skills.
Upon retirement of Sheriff Butler, Ennis Wright was appointed by the county commissioners to serve as Sheriff of Cumberland County on January 3, 2017. He finished Sheriff Butler’s term then campaigned for the Office of Sheriff.
In October 2017, Sheriff Wright initiated The Citizens Academy, a great asset connecting and educating the community regarding services provided by Sheriff Wright’s Office and his team. To this day the academy continues to thrive and connect citizens and law enforcement.
On November 6, 2018, Sheriff Wright ran and was elected as 22nd Sheriff of Cumberland County, NC and proudly took his oath of office to serve all citizens of Cumberland County. In November of 2022, he ran for a second term and was reelected with 60% of the vote.