The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office today held its 43rd Basic Academy graduation ceremony, recognizing 19 deputies’ successful completion of training.
The academy class was the largest in Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office history. More than half of the graduates (11) have college degrees and 20 percent (four) served in the military, including the Navy, Army and Air Force. They come from as far away as Tampa, Fla., and have varied past careers that include working in contracting, banking, corrections and marine biology. They range in age from 22-50.
The Honorable William R. O’Brien, Chief Judge of Virginia Beach Circuit Court, delivered the commencement address.
“It’s a momentous day for the graduates. You’ve challenged yourselves intellectually, you’ve challenged yourselves physically, you’ve challenged yourselves in competition and you’ve risen to the top. There are 19 of you that made the grade and that’s something that you ought to be very, very proud of,” he said. “You’ll be called upon to be protectors, defenders, psychologists, peacemakers and good judgment people in this community. You’ll have enormous responsibility.”
He said they will play an integral part in the criminal justice system.
“You will have a role and a function to maintain that system and I hope that each of you takes it seriously, that each of you is dedicated to it and that this is just the first step in a long and beneficial career for you all as deputy sheriffs in the city of Virginia Beach.”
The 16-week Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office Basic Academy includes training in Virginia law, ethics, cultural diversity, firearms, defensive tactics, emergency vehicle operations and first aid. The graduates also completed rigorous physical fitness training and courses pertaining to the Sheriff’s Office various functions: Corrections, Court Transportation and Security, and Civil Process. They each successfully met the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services requirements for graduation and have earned their Basic Jailer and Civil Process certifications.
“This academy has given us all the skills necessary to be effective in our jobs, supportive to our comrades and confident in our abilities,” said Deputy Terrance Person, the class president. “Becoming law enforcement means living up to and exceeding expectations because everyone has their eyes on you at all times. There is no doubt in my mind that these deputies will always uphold the law and exceed the standard as we step forward in our journeys.”
The deputies will be assigned to the Virginia Beach Correctional Center and bring the number of active, sworn Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office deputies to 416.
The application process to become a Virginia Beach sheriff’s deputy is extremely competitive. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, 152 people applied and only 56 were hired.
Sheriff Ken Stolle congratulated the graduates and thanked their friends and families for their support.
“I expect you to give your best effort out there when it comes to protecting the citizens of Virginia Beach,” he told the graduates. “I expect you to be excellent in everything you do and I expect you to earn the honor of being a deputy – a law enforcement officer – in the city of
Virginia Beach, every single day.”