BY RICK WILSON
I have had the honor and pleasure of working as an auxiliary deputy sheriff with the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office for almost three years. The opportunity to work with the law enforcement community as a volunteer has been as rewarding as it has been exciting. I derive an immense amount of professional satisfaction through assisting our honorable law enforcement officers in their pursuit of maintaining public safety, as well as intense personal satisfaction from the knowledge that I’m making a valuable contribution to my community every time I put on the uniform.
As an auxiliary deputy sheriff, I have the privilege of working alongside full-time deputies to preserve public safety. Though I am a volunteer, I am a sworn law enforcement officer with the same privileges, authorities and – most solemnly – responsibilities of a fulltime deputy sheriff.
I participated in nine weeks of intense law enforcement training to become fully certified as an auxiliary deputy, a status which enables me to perform the same law enforcement duties that one would expect from any member of the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office.
As a certified auxiliary deputy, with very few exceptions, I am afforded the opportunity to work in almost every department within the Sheriff’s Office at the limitation of my own personal availability. Any given month may see me work alongside court bailiffs, serve civil process paperwork or work special event security. The vast majority of my volunteer time is spent performing correctional duties inside the Virginia Beach Correctional Center, which is the bedrock of any deputy sheriff. Most significantly, the Sheriff of Virginia Beach trusts his auxiliary deputies with the same authorities and responsibilities as he does his paid deputies.
I came to the office out of a desire to do my part to protect the public. In the wake of highly publicized police incidents, I was dismayed while watching the national discourse about law enforcement’s involvement in the community and the vilification of our law enforcement officers.
I’ve always been politically passionate – both of my degrees are in government and I’m currently in my 12th year of active duty military service – but, from my perspective, the importance of public safety in our communities was so paramount that the time had come for me to do more than just talk about the problem. It became time to get involved or, as I stated in my interview for the Sheriff’s Office, to “get off the bench and play for a winning team.” I joined the Sheriff’s Office as soon as the speed of the application process would allow.
I grew up believing that you can tell what a person’s interests are by what they spend their money on. However, time has taught me that the true indicator of a person’s passions is what they spend their time doing.
I am the son of a retired Detroit police officer and the son-in-law of a former Virginia game warden. I’ve had plenty of personal insight into how much good law enforcement contributes to making and keeping a community viable.
The public needs to be able to take its safety – not its safety officials – for granted for a community to have any sense of vitality. It’s no coincidence that safety is one of the basic psychological requirements presented on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office Auxiliary Deputy Program affords me an excellent opportunity to live my passion for keeping my community safe and to turn my passion for community safety into actions that matter.
Wilson, a Virginia Beach resident, serves a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. Visit vbso.net for information about the auxiliary program.
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