Northampton County Deputy Christopher L. Forbes received the 2015 Deputy Sheriff Valor Award at the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association’s 82nd Annual Conference and Exhibition on Tuesday in Norfolk.
Northampton County Sheriff David L. Doughty submitted the following recommendation for Deputy Forbes:
Christopher Forbes has been a deputy sheriff with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office since 2003. Additionally, he was previously employed as a deputy sheriff with the Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Sheriff’s Offices. He has received numerous certifications associated with his law enforcement career. Some of those certifications include basic jailor, basic law enforcement, field training officer, basic SCUBA, basic underwater search and recovery, basic laser and radar, basic swat school, and he is an active member of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association. Deputy Forbes demonstrates a high level of professionalism with both his fellow law enforcement officers and the citizens of Northampton County. He has been involved with local community service for many years and displays a profound interest in helping others. He recently completed his field training officer certification. He serves as a mentor for our new deputies and is always willing to go beyond the call of duty. Also, prior to his law enforcement career, he served two years in the Virginia National Guard and eight years in the United States Army as a paratrooper.
On June 15, 2014, around 2:58 a.m., Deputy Forbes received a call to respond to a residence located on the beach, just north of the Kiptopeke State Park. The caller advised that there was a subject banging on the front door requesting that they call the Coast Guard. Deputy Forbes arrived on the scene and determined that three men were on a boat fishing several miles offshore in the Chesapeake Bay when the boat overturned. He asked his dispatcher to call for assistance from the Virginia Marine Police, Kiptopeke State Park Police and the United States Coast Guard. It was also determined that the boat overturned approximately eight hours ago and there were two other men still in the water. Deputy Forbes proceeded down to the beach and after a short walk, he was able to locate one of the other two men approximately 100 yards offshore. He quickly discovered that the man was not able to swim in, because he was suffering from exhaustion and complete muscle failure. Deputy Forbes then made the decision to enter the water and swim out to assist the man to safety. Once he was on the beach, he and the other deputy administered first aid to the victim who had been in the water for around eight hours and was suffering from hypothermia. Deputy Forbes became concerned about getting the victim to medical attention and off the remote area of the beach. He noticed that the Coast Guard helicopter had arrived in the area and was searching well offshore for the overturned boat and survivors. He was able to signal the helicopter to his location by using his flashlight.
Once the Coast Guard helicopter was at his location, he was able to communicate with the crew by drawing information about the victim in the sand. He and the other deputies were able to then assist the helicopter crew with the evacuation of the victim. Shortly thereafter, the third survivor was located several hundred yards offshore. All three survivors were treated and released from local hospitals and have fully recovered.
It is certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that Deputy Forbes displayed an extremely high level of professionalism and courage during the entire incident. He was able to quickly obtain the initial information and request the necessary resources to assist with the incident. He, without delay, took off his duty gear and entered the water to rescue the second victim. We are certainly fortunate to have such a dedicated person on our staff.
It is for the above reasons that I would like to nominate Deputy Christopher L. Forbes for the 2015 Deputy Sheriff Valor Award.
Sheriff David L. Doughty, Jr.