VIRGINIA BEACH — The sheriff’s office recently appointed Capt. Rick Norris as its first captain of Community Outreach in the hopes of better organizing the office’s current community efforts.
“The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office has always been committed to serving and engaging with our community,” said Sheriff Ken Stolle. “Creating a Community Outreach command unifies and strengthens those efforts. It also demonstrates our dedication to community involvement.”
During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the sheriff’s logged a total of 351,863 hours with help from hundreds of volunteers, including chaplains, auxiliary deputies, interns and inmates giving their time for the Workforce and Trusty programs, according to data provided by the VBSO.
Norris has a rich background in both law enforcement as well as community service — he said he sees this new position as a way to better focus the efforts of the VBSO’s community service programs.
“I want to show positive things in the community,” he said.
The new position oversees the sheriff’s office’s community involvement efforts, including its senior initiatives, Recruitment Team and Honor Guard.
Norris will serve as the point of contact for all community outreach efforts, making it easier for outside organizations to work with the VBSO as well as giving the internal offices a person to report to for community programs, said sheriff’s office spokeswoman Kathy Hieatt.
Funding for this position came from the sheriff’s office’s existing budget, said Chief Deputy Rocky Holcomb.
“We had a lot of people doing the same jobs, there was no gatekeeper,” Holcomb said.
While Norris is just beginning in this new position, he hopes to broaden the understanding of what the VBSO does.
“I want to show the positives and enhance the perception of the sheriff’s office,” Norris added.
Norris will continue to serve as the office’s Human Rights Commission liaison as well as remain a member of the VBSO’s Peer Support Team and Recruitment Team, a defensive driving instructor and a general instructor where he often teaches ethics and diversity to the sheriff’s office’s basic academy classes.
Norris has served the VBSO for 21 years and has in the past worked in corrections, court security, intake and the Professional Standards Office and was a Drug Abuse Resistance Education deputy and supervisor.
Prior to joining the sheriff’s office, Norris served 10 years as an auxiliary police officer, 13 years with the Navy (four years of active duty service and nine years with the Navy Reserve) and worked for Cox Communications Inc.
He said he also intends to keep volunteering for Special Olympics Virginia, the Mayflower Marathon for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, the Cops & Kids Christmas charity, the Seniors Prom at Marian Manor and more.
He’s a member of the American Legion Attucks Post 5 and, with his wife, has served as a therapeutic foster parent for more than 20 years.
“To be effective as law enforcement officers, we must know our community and actively engage with our citizens,” he said. “I’m honored to serve as the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office’s first captain of Community Outreach and I look forward to leveraging this position to enhance our relationship with our community, improve our understanding of one another and expand our existing outreach efforts.”
To learn more about VBSO’s community outreach efforts, click here.