By Michael Campbell News Editor
SURRY – This week, nearly 50 new Virginia State Police troopers reported to their respective Division Headquarters to begin the final phase of their training, with a local man and former Surry County Sheriff’s Office deputy among the ranks.
The 125th Basic Session celebrated their graduation last Friday, at the state police Academy in North Chesterfield. After receiving their diplomas, the new troopers finished a rigorous 29-week training session. They received instruction in more than 100 different subjects spanning hundreds of hours. Academy training includes such areas as crime scene investigation, survival Spanish, judicial procedures, self- defense, cultural diversity and firearms.
Eight troopers will begin their new assignments on Monday and will spend the next six weeks with a field training officer learning their new patrol areas and day-to-day duties.
After serving five years with the Surry County Sheriff’s Office, Trooper Stanley Jones IV wanted to take his law enforcement career in a different direction and felt Virginia State Police offered him an opportunity to do just that.
In addition to his service in Surry, Jones served for four years with the Virginia Army National Guard. He’ll be on patrol in New Kent County.
Returning to serve his hometown of Chesapeake for first assignment is Trooper Sean M. Martin. He received his degree in Criminal justice from Radford University.
Prior to joining the Virginia State Police, Trooper Geordan A. Cross served two years in the Virginia Army National Guard. From Suffolk, he became a trooper to make a difference. He’ll report for duty in Prince William County.
Trooper Evan R. Davis of James City County will head north to Frederick County for his first assignment. He joined state police because he liked the idea of working for an agency that would allow him to work throughout his home state over the course of his career.
Brunswick County resident Timothy S. Everman II wanted to join what he considers “the premier law enforcement agency.” His first assignment with the Virginia State Police takes him to Springfield.
Southampton County native Trooper Seth M. Morris will report for duty in neighboring Greensville County. He chose the Virginia State Police in order to serve the public with “the best organization in law enforcement.’
Troopers Joshua M. Shaffer and Justin K. Littlejohn-Miller with assume their first assignments in Accomack County on the Eastern Shore.
Trooper Shaffer, a native of Suffolk received his associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Liberty University.
For Chesapeake resident Trooper Littlejohn-Miller becoming a law enforcement officer presented an opportunity to serve his community and attempt to make Virginia and the nation safer places.
As the need for highly-skilled and capable law enforcement officers increases, the Department continues to seek qualified applicants for the trooper and commercial vehicle enforcement officer positions.
While Governor Terry McAuliffe has committed dollars toward raises for state employees, state troopers included, the executive director of the Virginia State Police Association told WWBT News in Richmond that the department still needs hundreds more troopers, citing years of budget cuts, compensation issues and recruitment challenges as reasons troopers are “fleeing” the department.
“Any cut, given the situation we are in is significant,” Wayne Higgins told the television station. “Our people are fleeing the department of State Police.”
According to documents provided by Higgins and State Police, “Since 2006, the department has been forced to eliminate $94,181,845 through required General Fund Reduction,” adding that “starting pay is abysmal at $36,207” and “personnel across the agency suffer from pay compression issues that result from years of neglect.”
“For 85 years, we have responded to the needs of the Commonwealth in an admirable way,” said Higgins. “Now we are asking for the Commonwealth to respond to our needs.”
The funds laid out in the governor’s budget will be used to increase starting pay and provide much-needed compensation for troopers and staff, which McAuliffe praised lawmakers for working across the aisle to accomplish.
“We worked together to get state employees, law enforcement, and teachers well-deserved raises,” the governor said in a statement following last month’s adjournment of the General Assembly. “These significant steps forward will help us continue to grow our economy and make life better for people in every corner of the Commonwealth.”
More information about job opportunities with the Virginia State Police can be found by visiting the Department’s website http://vsp.virginia.gov.
Copyright 2017 by Womack Publishing
Image Source: Virginia State Police