Week 13

Back to Basics: A 17-year law enforcement veteran goes back to basic training

May 6, 2022

Now we wait.

I had my first orthopedic appointment this week for my knee injury and the specialist says I have a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain, which is a partial tear, and most likely a meniscus tear. I am hopeful that I won’t need surgery and asked to try physical therapy first. He told me we will try for one month. If there is no improvement at that point, I will need to have the surgery. I want the quickest recovery time so I can get back to running and be ready for the fall academy. My first physical therapy appointment is in the next few days, and I hope it will promote the healing process and allow me to avoid surgery. I had the opportunity to meet our new hires on Thursday and three of them will be in the next academy with me. I told them I will be there ready to go through the thick of it with them, and I plan to make good on that promise!

This week the recruits have been busy.

BAC 52-22 pickleball
The Basic Academy recruits and instructors with Sheriff Ken Stolle after pickleball.

On Tuesday, they learned how to play pickleball during their workouts and had the opportunity to play against Sheriff Ken Stolle. The Sheriff is an avid pickleball player and is a force to be reckoned with on the court! It was a great opportunity for the recruits to get to know the Sheriff through some good old fashioned athletic competition! I have never played pickleball before, but I would have loved to have been able to join them. For those like me who are not familiar with pickleball, it’s a combination of tennis, badminton and Ping-Pong. Picture a small tennis court and wooden paddles that look like a cross between Ping-Pong paddles and racquetball rackets. The ball is plastic and has holes in it like a Wiffle ball. Don’t let it fool you, it is very fast-paced and there is a lot of running around involved. I enjoyed taking pictures and videos of the fun.

Basic Academy Class 52-22 took test number seven this week, and the recruits said it was quite difficult. The topics included rules of evidence, court security, court testimony and terrorism awareness for first responders. I spoke with some of the recruits who missed a few questions and had to retest on those questions the next day. The good news is that everyone passed and is still hanging in there!

The class received classroom training on cell and person searches this week. This training is really important because deputies must be very careful and thorough when searching arrestees and inmates for weapons and other contraband. Thorough cell searches are an important safety measure regularly conducted by deputies working in the Correctional Center. The purpose is to ensure they are not hiding drugs, weapons, homemade tattoo kits or any other forbidden items that could threaten the safety and security of the facility. In addition to routine cell searches, we conduct comprehensive jail-wide searches at least twice per year. These searches involve hundreds of deputies simultaneously searching every inch of the jail, which spans three buildings and dozens of housing units. Inmates can be very creative when it comes to hiding homemade weapons and drugs, which can be dangerous to both inmates and staff. That’s why this training is so important. The recruits learned the safest and most effective way to conduct these searches and practiced their skills later in the day.

BAC 52-22 scenarios
Recruits practice responding to shoplifting during training scenarios.

On Wednesday the class learned about some of the responsibilities of deputies outside the jail, whether it be while serving civil process paperwork, working part-time employment at the amphitheater or helping the Virginia Beach Police Department as a force multiplier at the Oceanfront. They took part in scenarios that tested their knowledge of how to handle some of the most common situations they may encounter, from shoplifting to disorderly behavior. If you’ve ever attended a packed country music concert at the amphitheater, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

With those scenarios came the most fun part of the job: paperwork. In my years with the VBPD, I took more reports and wrote more case files than I can count. It isn’t exciting, but documentation is very important. There must be clear records of everything we do, especially when it comes to criminal cases. It’s a necessary part of enforcing the law and preparing for court.

Next week the class will learn the civil process responsibilities of the VBSO. They will have classroom instruction followed by ride-alongs with Civil Process units out in the community as they serve court documents to citizens. As part of their practical evaluation, the recruits will also be serving documents. Our class is good at learning quickly and applying material from class, so I know they will do a great job.

I enjoyed getting to see my classmates this week and they are counting down the time toward graduation. Only 25 days left! I will keep you posted on our class’s progress these last few weeks and my knee recuperation process. See you next week!

Photos and videos by VBSO Public Information Officers Margie Hobbs and Toni Guagenti