The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office’s volunteer efforts stretch through every part of our organization and touch many areas of the community. Community Outreach is part of the Training Division and includes the Honor Guard and Auxiliary Program.
During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, even with some programs being suspended due to COVID-19, the Sheriff’s Office logged a total of 187,432 hours with help from 1,407 volunteers, including chaplains, auxiliary deputies, interns and inmates giving their time for the Workforce and Trusty programs. This equated to $2.1 million in savings to Virginia Beach taxpayers. Auxiliary deputies supplement VBSO operations and participate in community events, including providing free child I.D. cards. They must maintain proficiency in firearms, defensive tactics, first aid and other skills.
Sheriff Rocky Holcomb and the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office are ardent supporters of Special Olympics Virginia. VBSO deputies and civilians volunteer their time for various Special Olympics events throughout the year, including the Fall Championships opening ceremonies, Dancing with the Athletes competition, Polar Plunge, Tip-a-Cop and Cover a Cruiser events.
The Sheriff’s Office holds quarterly blood drives to benefit the American Red Cross (collecting 166 units of blood this year), raises money for charity through the Sheriff Community Fund, supports Virginia Beach Crime Solvers, participates in the United Way Day of Caring, supports the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, and participates in the Cops & Kids event, which takes underprivileged children to buy Christmas presents. The office is also actively involved in Law Enforcement United and its annual Road to Hope, a 250-mile bicycle ride to Washington to honor fallen officers and raise money for their families and related charities.
The VBSO also provides volunteers for National Night Out, the Red, White and Blue Youth Fishing Experience and Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs.
The VBSO is active in schools, with volunteers helping on the first day, collecting school supplies, attending “Lunch with a Deputy” and giving their time at other school events.
The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach Coordinator Gary Zalas is involved in numerous VBSO volunteer events, with his primary focus being to provide child I.D.s and safety initiatives for senior citizens. He sits on the executive boards of both SALT (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) and Virginia Beach TRIAD, which seek to arm senior citizens with the information they need to protect themselves and avoid becoming victims of crime. In addition, Mr. Zalas is on the boards of Project Lifesaver and Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia (SSEVA) and serves as chair of the SSEVA’s Services Advisory Council. He is also a commissioner on the Mayor’s Commission on Aging.
This year Community Outreach Coordinator Zalas with support from Auxiliary Deputies and staff:
• Participated in 104 events;
• Conducted one senior home security assessment and large peephole
• Provided displays and presentations to various senior organizations, educating 580 seniors on available services in the area and issues such as senior safety, frauds and scams, summer safety TRIAD, Project Lifesaver and other programs offered to the senior community;
• Delivered 178 5-pound boxes of nonperishable food for Comfort Care Seniors
through Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, in addition to conducting periodic
wellness checks to ensure their health and welfare, confirm they’ve received their
meals with no issues and offer additional assistance;
• Held two Senior Citizens Police Academies consisting of 10 three-hours sessions, graduating 29 seniors;
• Conducted routine visits to 124 Project Lifesaver clients to change batteries, reattach trackers and check transmitter frequencies to ensure a strong signal and
signed up 26 new clients for the program;
• Made more than 15 calls to seniors for Senior Services of Southeastern
Virginia’s Meals on Wheels Program;
• Participated in food drives at Harris Teeter and Pembroke Mall (the Mayflower
Marathon food drive for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern
• Hosted a four-hour Shred Day for seniors at Marian Manor Assisted Living, shredding 4,000 pounds of material and collecting $370 and 1,000 pounds of food for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore;
• Taught CPR and standard first aid for the VBSO’s indoctrination classes and deputies requiring recertification and assisted with the OC spray portion of indoc;
• Coordinated in nine child ID events providing 372 ID cards;
• Participated in Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs and the Red, White & Blue
Youth Fishing Experience, which provided the opportunity for more
than 300 children to go fishing;
• Delivered a Jazzy Power Chair to a senior in need at the Harmony at
Independence senior living facility.
To contact Community Outreach, email Mr. Zalas at email@example.com.