Sherrif Deputy at Table with Kids Coloring Paper Cutouts

The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office’s volunteer efforts stretch through every part of our organization and touch many community areas. Community Engagement and VBConnect are led by Capt. Karen “K.J.” Johnson. During the 2022-2023 fiscal year, the Sheriff’s Office logged a total of 213,036 volunteer hours with help from 5,466 volunteers, including chaplains, civilian staff, sworn staff, auxiliary deputies, interns, and inmates giving their time for the Workforce and Trusty programs. This equated to $2.3 million in savings to Virginia Beach taxpayers.

Community Engagement includes our Senior Safety Seminar , which teaches senior citizens basic self-defense maneuvers and skills to avoid becoming crime victims. It also includes our Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) training, which empowers people to protect themselves and those around them in an active shooter event. The class is primarily taught at churches and universities. The VBSO Emergency Response Team (ERT) teaches both classes.

LGBT Liaison Master Deputy Heidi Evertson addresses the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community—both inside and outside the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office— and connects that community with the law. She participated in 12 Pride events in Hampton, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach last year. 

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. 

Rocky Holcomb with Special Olympics Participant

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. These include Little Feet Meets, Cover a Cruiser at Wawa, and Tip-A-Cop at California Pizza Kitchen, which raised $3,500 for local athletes. The VBSO also participated in the Polar Plunge, with 25 staff taking the plunge and 12 volunteering at registration, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run, with 45 staff running three miles to pass the Flame of Hope to the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office as it made its way to open the 2023 Summer Games in Richmond.

The Sheriff’s Office held five blood drives last year to support the American Red Cross, collecting 172 units of blood. It also raises money for charity through the Sheriff Community Fund and supports Virginia Beach Crime Solvers, The Salvation Army Christmas Depot and more, including:

  • The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, providing security for the three-day Mayflower Marathon food drive at Pembroke Mall;
  • National Night Out; and
  • The Virginia Beach Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 8 Christmas shopping event for underprivileged children.

The office is 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 is active in schools, with volunteers helping on the first day and giving their time at other school events. The Sheriff’s Office last year also brought back the Lunch with a Deputy program, where staff mentored and interacted with students at eight elementary schools. 

The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach Coordinator Gary Zalas is involved in numerous VBSO volunteer events, with his primary focus being providing 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, the Virginia Gang Investigators Association, 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.

To contact Community Engagement/VBConnect, email Capt. Johnson at .

For more information on the VBSO’s community engagement, follow us on Facebook , Twitter   and Instagram .

To request Honor Guard participation in an event, please download and fill out the VBSO Honor Guard Request Form and submit it to