Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office hosts 45th Basic Academy graduation ceremony
The Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office today held its 45th Basic Academy graduation ceremony, recognizing 18 deputy recruits’ successful completion of training.
More than one third of the graduates (six) have college degrees and 22% (four) served in the military, including the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force Reserve. Many are Virginia Beach locals. Others come from as far away as San Diego and have varied past careers that include working as dental technicians, landscapers, mixed martial arts fighters and bail bondsmen.
Virginia Beach City Councilwoman Sabrina Wooten delivered the commencement address. She advised the graduates to embrace and emulate their leadership, embrace their positions as public servants and make family their priority.
“With those three elements I say to you: you will definitely be successful. You will make a change in someone’s life. You will make a difference in our community,” said Councilwoman Wooten. “So I commend you already in advance and congratulations again for all that you’re doing and will do to continue to make the City of Virginia Beach an even greater place to live.”
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.
The training transformed the recruits from classmates into family, said Deputy Paul Allenson, the class president.
“To my brothers and sisters of class 45-19, I just want to say thank you,” said Deputy Allenson.” “Congratulations on your hard work, dedication and determination because truly you guys really are the living proof of our class motto: strong alone, unstoppable together.”
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 423. Their first weekend on the job will be working during the Something in the Water festival and College Beach Weekend.
The application process to become a Virginia Beach sheriff’s deputy is extremely competitive. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 154 people applied and 47 were hired.
Sheriff Ken Stolle congratulated the deputy recruits and discussed the vital role they play in the community.
“You are not law enforcement officers. You’re deputy sheriffs,” said Sheriff Stolle. “Enforcing the laws is just one of our duties. … You are also a firefighter, you’re an EMT, you help the mentally ill, you provide medication and medical care. All of these things you do because of the badge on your chest.”
“None of this is in our job description, but we do it to save lives. We do it because we know that 97% of the 1,400 inmates in our jail will return to the community,” he added.
He also talked about the future of the Sheriff’s Office, including achieving pay parity with the Virginia Beach Police Department, which was recently approved by the City Council.
“You all do a better job than any other sheriff’s office in the state of Virginia and I’m proud to be your sheriff,” he said. “So when you go out tomorrow to protect our community, go with the knowledge that the City Council and the City of Virginia Beach recognize you as an equal to every other public safety organization in the city. As an equal, you have the same responsibility to the public safety of the community as every other organization. I know that you’re up to the responsibility and will meet it with integrity, compassion and the utmost professionalism.”
If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact: Kathy Hieatt, Public Information Officer: 757.570.1923.