Finding joy in life, love and community

When Ofc. Kim Wright was on the first date with her future wife, she wanted to do something different than the traditional dinner and a movie. She wanted something more meaningful.
“So I asked her, ‘Do you want to go get tattoos?’ and I didn’t think she would go for it but she said yes,” recalls Kim, who joined the UNT Police Department in April 2021.
That unique start to their relationship was another of the many unique starts Kim has had in her life – at one point she was even a tattoo artist, herself.
“If something interested me, I was going to try it,” she says.
 
Enjoying the variety of life
Kim spent most of her childhood with her Hispanic grandmother. Her memories are of warm homemade tortillas that never got stacked too high because she and her cousins would steal them. Her mother had five sisters so there were always tons of cousins to play with and huge holiday gatherings.
“I grew up with an awesome childhood,” Kim says. “I was the baby of the family and my grandma spoiled me. I was spoiled and I knew it.”
Her strong attachment to family, especially her grandmother, was one reason she moved back to the DFW area following her graduation from Texas A&M where she started her law enforcement career.
“My grandma expects I’ll see her at least once a week and she’ll call if I can’t make it. She gets worried about me being a police officer, but she’s also very proud of me,” Kim says.
The route from home to college and back home again was a roundabout one, but it’s the variety in the experiences she’s had that have made life interesting for Kim.
“I’ve had many different jobs. I worked at Lockheed Martin. I was a tattoo artist. At A&M I studied wildlife and fisheries and thought about being a veterinarian,” Kim says.
Ultimately, a suggestion from a fellow A&M student that she should look into the campus police department led her down the path of law enforcement. When she moved back to DFW, the job at the UNT Police Department appealed to her for the same reasons that the A&M job did.
“I like being a part of a community that is constantly changing. At a university, you’re seeing different things every semester. Most of these students are having their first experience as adults. I think they need guidance and understanding,” Kim says. “I think they can relate to me because I have tattoos and I don’t look like some stuffy person.”
 
Making her mark
Some of Officer Wright's tattoosThe carefree and joyous nature with which Kim approaches life can be seen right on her fingertips. She had smiley faces tattooed onto them, although they are fading now.
“Somebody will notice them and think I have pen ink on my fingers and I’ll tell them about the happy faces. They’ll ask why I did that and I’ll say, ‘Yeah, I don’t have a good reason for it,’” Kim says with a laugh.
Even that tattoo she got on her first date with her wife was done all in fun. She was going through the police academy at the time and got a potbelly pig eating a donut, using the euphemisms for police officers as a joke to herself. Her wife – in case you’re interested – got a constellation.
The art of tattooing called to Kim from her very first tattoo at age 18.
“I got a fairy. I don’t know why. It was the most ridiculous thing,” Kim says.
She got really serious about tattooing when she asked the artist who created many of her tattoos if he would take her on as an apprentice.
“I bothered him for months and months and he would give me homework, like, ‘Draw me 20 skulls and I want to see the steps you take to make them,’” she recalls.
After a while it was her turn to try her hand at the real thing. The very first tattoo she created was a rubber duckie as a reminder of a client’s son.
“It was terrifying,” Kim says. “It felt very rough to me and they’ve got this very emotional tie to this tattoo.”
Her skills got better but her interest in the profession waned because fewer and fewer people wanted original creations.
As for her own tattoos, they still bring her happiness – even the ones that don’t quite fit with who she is anymore.
“My tattoos mark big life events, and also just stuff that I think is funny,” Kim says.