Image of Jose Herrera

The Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office has welcomed its first soon-to-be U.S. Navy veteran as a deputy sheriff intern under the Virginia SkillBridge Program.

SkillBridge is a Department of Defense (DOD) program that provides opportunities for active-duty service members to gain valuable work experience during their last 180 days of service. The VBSO is one of more than 116 Virginia private and public-sector organizations/businesses that offer internship opportunities under SkillBridge to assist service members’ transition from the military.

The internships allow participants to build their resumes, explore employment interests, develop new job skills and gain additional work experience to help them successfully transition into the civilian workforce.

The VBSO’s first hire with the program is Chief Petty Officer Jose Herrera, who is retiring from the Navy after nearly 21 years of service. He starts with 16 other recruits on Monday, April 1, in the VBSO’s Basic Academy Class 57.

Originally from Los Angeles, Herrera chose the SkillBridge program, and particularly an internship with law enforcement, because he has worked with law enforcement agencies throughout the country at locations where he was stationed.

For example, while stationed in Florida, Herrera said he worked with one of the local sheriff’s offices and the work and staff made a good impression on him. Herrera added that he’s done traveling the world and is ready to set down roots in Virginia Beach.

Herrera will attend the VBSO Basic Academy while still employed with the military and receive the same training and certification as other VBSO recruits. SkillBridge interns receive full military pay and benefits during their internship rather than being paid by the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office. Upon successfully graduating from the Basic Academy and separating from the military, Herrera will receive an offer of full-time employment as a sworn deputy with the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office.

“We have a lot of veterans who have thrived in their second career at the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office,” said VBSO Public Safety Investigator Robert “Mac” McBride, a Navy veteran and former VBSO deputy who serves in Human Resources and helps vet new hires. “Many find that it’s an easy transition because we’re a paramilitary organization with a similar command structure. In addition, this is a great way for the VBSO to find qualified, hard-working applicants who are ready to commit to the badge, want to serve their community and understand our mission and high standards of conduct.”

The VBSO has been Virginia Values Veterans (V3) certified since 2016, which means it meets state benchmarks for hiring, retaining and promoting veterans. Approximately one third of the VBSO workforce has served in the military. It joined the SkillBridge program in 2023.

“Veterans make great deputy sheriffs. They are well-trained and care about protecting and helping others. They have served our country honorably and deserve the opportunity to have a rewarding, well-paying second career. We’re proud to offer them that opportunity,” said Sheriff Rocky Holcomb. “For the VBSO, SkillBridge is a great opportunity to expand our talent pool and supplement our manpower at no cost to the city. It’s a win-win.”

Visit the DOD SkillBridge Program , for more information. For questions about applying for the VBSO’s SkillBridge internship, contact VBSO Public Safety Investigator McBride .

Media contact: Email VBSO Public Information Officer Toni Guagenti or call (757) 385-8446.