VSP Senior Special Agent Stuart Williams discusses his line of work with visitors during the VSP Area 35 Community Day Open House in Emporia. Pictured clockwise from left are Williams, Linda Thomas, Javon Thomas, King Turner.

Last week’s Virginia State Police Community Day at the VSP Office in Emporia gave citizens a chance to interact with troopers. Trooper Samuel Boone, the 5th Division Recruiter out of Richmond, said it was an opportunity for the VSP to show it is part of the community.

“This allows us to be visible and let people know that not only do we enforce the law, we care about the community,” he said. “We are a part of the community.”

The 520 South Main St. event shed light on VSP specialty units, allowed citizens to socialize with law enforcement, and grab a hot dog and a burger.

Many eyes focused on the Canine units. Citizens discovered the mission of bomb-sniffing dogs, apprehension dogs, narcotics dogs, and other specialty canines. Area youths, King and Kanyh Taylor were wide-eyed, while watching a demonstration of an apprehension dog in action. Pastor Linda Thomas seemed impressed as well.

“We’re bringing the kids here so they can get to know the police in a positive light,” she said. “We want them to know that the police are just regular guys.”

Thomas’ description of regular guys rings true. Still, these regular guys, and gals, do more than their fair share of keeping communities and roadways safe.

Trooper Pippin is part of the VSP Motorcycle Unit. His group might lead a sweep of a motorcade route to ensure safety or lead the motorcade protecting President Joe Biden, who recently visited the eastern Virginia seaboard.

Pippin’s group heads the Ride-to-Save-Lives motorcycle safety training for citizens. He and his group also participate in community events, as he did in Emporia.

“We hope these events bring in people that are interested in becoming a trooper,” he said. “It gives them a chance to talk with us about what we do. Before I became a trooper, if I wasn’t able to ask questions, I would have been in the dark.”

Asking questions and learning about the VSP and its role in providing public safety is at the forefront of community events. It’s also a chance for the citizenry to show its appreciation for law enforcement.

“I’m here to show the love of Christ and to build morale between the community and the state troopers,” Pastor Javon Thomas said.

The VSP is charged with ensuring public safety in the community. It’s a community the VSP is very much a part of when it is all said and done.