Back to Basics: A 17-year law enforcement veteran goes back to basic training
Margie Hobbs is a veteran law enforcement officer with 17 years of service to the Virginia Beach Police Department, where she rose to the rank of sergeant and served as a Public Information Officer. She left the VBPD in 2016 and served six years as a PIO and recruiter for Virginia Beach Emergency Communications & Citizen Services before joining the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office as a sworn PIO last year. Now it's time for her to go back to the Basic Academy! Follow her journey as she completes basic training for the second time in her career. She will be sharing her experience every Friday throughout her 17 weeks at the Virginia Beach Law Enforcement Training Academy as part of the VBSO's 52nd Basic Academy Class (BAC 52-22)!
May 13, 2022
This week I have been going to physical therapy (PT) for my knee. My physical therapist is a very knowledgeable lady and has me doing all kinds of strengthening exercises and stretching. That’s what SHE calls it. I call it “pretzel and pain” time, i.e., twisting my knee into all kinds of painful positions. All joking aside, she has really helped me increase my mobility with the exercises at the orthopedic PT facility and my “homework” exercises. One thing that drives me nuts about my injury is getting on the PT bike and hearing a “crack/pop” sound with every pedal rotation. If you recall from an earlier post, the sound of knuckle cracking literally drives me nuts, like fingernails on a chalkboard. Now my knee haunts me hundreds of times a day with its popping sounds. I was hopeful that I may be able to avoid surgery on my meniscus tear, but my odds aren’t looking good. PT is helping with flexibility, but I have been told numerous times that meniscus tears rarely heal on their own. I want to be ready to go as soon as possible. I have some training to do!
The recruits are counting down the days until they graduate. They had intake training and learned about processing inmates as they come into the Correctional Center. One portion of this training involves learning about the LiveScan system. It’s like what you experience during a security check at an airport. The scan takes a digital “picture” of the inside an arrestee’s body as they are being booked into the jail, kind of like an X-ray. The process is a minimally invasive way for the intake team to see if an arrestee is trying to smuggle in drugs, weapons, electronics or any other contraband. We’ve found cocaine, full heroin kits, handcuffs (yes, handcuffs) and even watches, to name a few. I’ll leave it to you to guess which body cavities are used. In these situations, if the item can easily be extracted, the deputy will have the inmate remove it themselves. If not, medical staff are on hand to assist. These are the less glamorous parts of the job, but are essential to prevent dangerous items from coming into the facility.
This week the class also received training on court security and civil process service. The last three days of the week the recruits did practical exercises where they are partnered with certified deputies in the courts/civil process units and shadow them throughout their day. The recruits helped with courtroom security and order and served civil process paperwork. These are big parts of the job. The Virginia Beach Courthouse is one of the most heavily trafficked public buildings in the city, and we served more than 94,000 civil process documents last year.
While the recruits were preparing for court to be in session, I spoke with one of the training officers who described a beneficial new technology that was brought into the courtrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now there is a TV in each courtroom that allows the judge and attorneys to communicate virtually with inmates for hearings. It enables the courts to move forward with court proceedings when an inmate is contagious with an illness or is uncooperative and cannot be safely transported to the courthouse. These video hearings also reduce the manpower needed to transport unruly inmates. In these cases, a tablet is taken to the inmate’s cell and the inmate can be seen and heard in court. Virtual hearings are usually reserved for procedural issues or minor crimes, not trials for serious crimes or issues that involve witnesses.
I had the opportunity to get some photos of Basic Academy Class 52-22 throughout their training this week, but due to my knee injury I cannot have inmate contact (I’m on light duty restrictions). So I couldn’t go with the recruits during inmate transports or civil process ride-alongs, but I’m being creative about getting good photographs and video clips of my teammates in action. The academy staff has been extremely helpful arranging it so I can “hop along” and get some good pictures and videos to share my class’s experiences with you.
Speaking of “hop along,” my cat (she adopted me a year ago, not the other way around) has decided it’s time to wrap things up. She has planted herself on my keyboard. She wants ear scratches and is undeterred by my repeated attempts to remove her.
Over the next two weeks the academy staff will be bringing all the recruits’ training full circle and will put it all together. More complex scenarios will be designed to test the class’s cumulative skills. I will keep you posted. Keep up the good work BAC 52-22!
Photos by VBSO Public Information Officer Margie Hobbs