Graduates of CNM: Nick Acree

Nick is a former college football player and MMA fighter who is looking forward to a new career as a police officer after attending CNM’s Law Enforcement Academy
January 27, 2022

CNM Law Enforcement Academy graduate Nick Acree found himself in the spotlight recently after he was featured in a recruitment ad for the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

Interestingly, Nick says he never even planned on becoming a police officer when he moved here with his wife back in 2020. It all started when Nick decided to try doing mixed martial arts (MMA) to get in shape and was drawn to the city by the chance to train at Albuquerque’s famed Jackson Wink Academy.

“I did a couple of competitions and was able to excel and had a good time so I thought, ‘Why don’t I try to do this professionally?’” he says.

Before deciding to pursue MMA full-time, Nick worked as a campus pastor at Liberty University in Virginia, and before that as a strength coach at Virginia Tech where he was also a former football player. It was his supervisor at Liberty University who had ties to Albuquerque and suggested that Nick look into Jackson Wink Academy.

“We came and checked it out and the rest is history,” Nick says.

Soon after arriving in Albuquerque, however, Nick began to feel the pull of another dream.

“I actually wanted to be a state police officer in Virginia, but I was prohibited because I have visible tattoos, so that was pretty heartbreaking and discouraging,” he says. “I saw an ad for APD and I’m pretty sure it was ordained by God. I said, ‘Let me look and see if they allow tattoos,’ and they did.”  

Nick brought the idea to his coach, Greg Jackson, who not only offered his full support but even helped Nick make connections with people at APD.

“I’m a protector at heart. I love protecting people and standing up for injustice when I see it,” Nick says. “As a police officer, I can actually stop bullying. I can stop injustice. I can stand up for people who may not have a voice.”

Last August, Nick enrolled in the CNM Law Enforcement Academy where he received training in things like community policing and de-escalation tactics.

“It was awesome. Everyone treated us with so much respect, and I appreciate it so much,” Nick says.

Nick completed his CNM Law Enforcement Academy training this past December and says he is excited to start his career after he finishes the remainder of his basic training with APD in February. 

“When people see me, they see a big guy, but I like to think that my desire for justice and my heart and care for humanity is even bigger than just my size,” he says.

You can learn more about the CNM Law Enforcement Academy here.