A beloved University Police Department supervisor passed away at his home in Maryland on Wednesday night after serving the department for nearly 30 years.
Anthony Sligh, 53, joined UPD when he was 25 years old and spent almost every night of his adult life working the midnight shift for the department. Sligh’s sudden death, which appears to have been from natural causes, has cast a shadow on the department’s tight-knit community, UPD Chief Dolores Stafford said.
Sligh would be “sorely missed” by UPD and especially by the officers he supervised, who honored him with his second “Officer’s Choice Award” earlier this month, Stafford said. Several co-workers remembered him as a vivacious presence at the department, a supervisor who took a personal interest in his officers and an avid Washington Redskins fan.
“Anthony was an incredible employee, co-worker and friend to everyone at the GW Police Department,” Stafford said.
An officer since 1981, Sligh was promoted to corporal in the early 1990s and then to sergeant in 2003. He supervised more than 40 officers and was described an affable leader and dedicated friend by his fellow officers.
“You knew he was proud to be part of UPD,” Stafford said. “He was proud of himself and he was proud of the entire department.”
Standing in front of a memorial erected in the UPD offices on Friday, UPD Cpl. Felicia Archie bounced between fond memories and sharp grief as she spoke about her co-worker of 19 years.
In one moment, she remembered how Sligh was always joking around, recently telling anyone who would listen that the chief had left a special note on his “Officer’s Choice Award.” Then, her voice cracking, she reflected on the abruptness of Sligh’s death.
“I saw him on Tuesday,” Archie said. “He was just picking it with everyone as usual and then to hear on Wednesday that he was dead.”
She added, “He didn’t seem ill or nothing. I don’t think it has sunk in for us yet.”
Sligh worked graveyard hours, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., but his co-workers say he would never have traded the shift.
“The midnight shift was his pride and joy,” said UPD Cpl. Keith Cassells. “He loved it.”
Cassells, a department veteran of more than 30 years, remembers training Sligh when the young officer first came to the department.
“I taught him some but he taught me a lot more,” Cassells said. “He was always talking and laughing from the start.”
Cassells said that once Sligh “got into management, he got into the joy” of working at UPD. He added that Sligh always had an off-the-wall idea for the department – a sentiment which Stafford elaborated on, saying Sligh was “constant contributor” at staff meetings and that she enjoyed his suggestions, even if most of them never came to fruition.
Stafford added, “His laughter and ability to make all of us smile is what I will remember most about him.”