Russell Pompa '84
“I didn’t realize it then, but the criminal justice program at Radford University forced me out of my comfort zone and is responsible for who I am today,” said Russell Pompa ’84.
Pompa is a senior agent in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Norfolk Resident Office. The DEA enforces national drug laws and investigates the manufacture, distribution and transportation of illegal drugs.
“I came to realize early on in life that I wasn’t someone who would be satisfied working in an office environment. I wanted something that would allow me to be out in the field and active,” said Pompa.
After working as a uniformed police officer for more than four years with the City of Fairfax Police Department, he was hired by the DEA in 1989.
“My position within DEA is that of a Special Agent criminal investigator. My duty assignments include working Mexican drug cartels on the border of San Diego to inner city narcotics traffickers in Washington D.C. My current duty assignment is with the DEA Norfolk Resident Office,” said Pompa. “All three of these assignments are very different, but the experience I gained transfers no matter the assignment.”
Pompa’s passion lies on the front lines of the war on drugs.
“That is where I feel the most comfortable. I feel I can better mentor the young agents by getting out there and doing it myself,” said Pompa.
Pompa just recently became a part of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences Advisory Board, an opportunity where he can help to mentor Radford University students.
“My daughter Danielle is currently a sophomore criminal justice major at Radford University. I thought by getting involved with this board, it would be a great opportunity to give back,” said Pompa.
Pompa’s family has strong ties with Radford. He met his wife, Lisa Pompa ’86, his junior year and they married in 1991.
“As much as I do enjoy my job, I recognize that you can’t let it consume you,” said Pompa. “It is really important to be able to disconnect and enjoy life outside of work. My family and I do a lot of this together. It may be skiing or spending time in our vacation home in Nags Head, but this time together allows me to step away from the job.”
Pompa often reflects back on his time at Radford University and the skills that he gained there.
“If it wasn’t for my criminal justice courses, I would have never been pushed out of comfort zone,” said Pompa. “I would encourage people to step out and test themselves. You will not regret that decision later on in life.”