I never answered a call with the man. I never worked for the man. Other than a few assignments at the coliseum I never worked with the man. But during my career as a Greensboro Police Officer there were a very "few" officers that got your attention just by walking in the room. Some caused fear, some caused angst, some caused smiles but this man caused inspiration. He inspired through a positive demeanor and leadership quality that was unique to him. Not once in my years of working around this man did I ever see him down, or defeated or sad even when storms swirled around him designed to bring him down. He received respect and was revered without demanding it or seemingly even needing it. He impressed you with his devotion to causes away from the job and his stature within the Greensboro community was widespread. It appears most everyone in town knew him and felt the same as we did at the department.
I first met him in rookie school as he spoke to the 59th Police Basic Introductory Class and listened as he made us all feel like we belonged. I observed him in Civil Disturbance training where his knowledge and command demonstrated that "just any commander" couldn't do what he could. This same man led without using fear had the same command presence as those who did; but you respected him just a little bit more. He rarely criticized individuals in front of others whether he was training supervisors or "the troops" but was quick to praise where everyone could hear him. Do it right and he made you feel ten feet tall. Do it wrong and he corrected and taught in a way that made you feel ten feet tall and no one ever knew the wiser.
I would see him in Field Training Officer meetings where he was usually the only Division Commander in the room. After the meetings he would meet with his training coaches and compliment them on their "great presentations". Though I was not one of his it still inspired me and gave me hope that there were people in command that truly cared; not that there weren't more, there just was never a question about him. If you had a question, he provided an answer. If he did not know the answer, he found out and informed you within hours. If you were down, he would listen. If you were wrong, he corrected you and made you feel like everything would be okay whether you worked for him or not.
When I became president of the Police Club, he sought me out and told me that I had a chance to be a positive influence on the Club and take it to places it had not been. Every Police Club BBQ he worked he complimented the cooks, the staff and was the front man for the public. He had Jaycee ties that were important to him and that he maintained. I last spoke to him at the Wyndham at the Jaycee house and he was just as positive as he always had been, preferring to talk more about Jamie and his DJ'ing than himself. He always seemed to have his priorities in order to the point that you just believed he never had a bad day, even toward the end.
He never had a bad assignment, even when you knew he was placed there as punishment. Everywhere he commanded, those people were the best people and best assignment he had ever had. You look up the definition of the word leader.......well, you know the cliche. He affected a lot of careers, lives and perceptions. I am much better off having known him.
At approximately 6 a.m. this morning, God called Drew Cannady home. I am positive the second he walked through the Pearly Gates, God took one look and said "welcome, I need you to take charge of these folks here". I am sure he smiled, looked at God and said "thank you so much, this is the best group I have ever worked with".