Virginia Beach is the home of the largest municipal law enforcement agency in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia Beach has benefited from continued growth over the years and is well known in law enforcement circles as a progressive and modern police agency. English colonists made their historic first landing in what is now Virginia Beach in 1607, just a few weeks prior to the first permanent settlement being established in nearby Jamestown. In 1906, the community was formally chartered and incorporated as the City of Virginia Beach.
In 1952, Virginia Beach became an independent city, which meant that it was no longer just a municipality of Princess Anne County but a truly separate and distinct political entity. By 1963, the City of Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County were consolidated as a new larger independent city that retained the commonly known name of Virginia Beach. Today, the 310 square miles of land that make up Virginia Beach is the home of a population of around 450,000 people. This population doesn’t include the massive number of tourists that visit Virginia Beach every year or the transient personnel from the area’s numerous military bases.
More than 800 sworn police officers protect and serve the people of Virginia Beach. When the men and women of the Virginia Beach Police Department carry out their duties on land, at sea and in the air GLOCK pistols are on duty with them. GLOCK pistols entered service with the department in August of 2002 when the GLOCK 17 9×19 was issued to instructors and then cadets at the Police Academy. The first Academy class trained with GLOCK pistols graduated in January 2003. All of the other sworn officers of the department started the transition to GLOCK pistols in the months that followed. Uniformed officers were issued the full-size GLOCK 17 while plainclothes and undercover officers were issued the compact GLOCK 19. Firearms instructors noticed that many of the officers qualifying scores immediately went up when shooting GLOCK pistols when compared to the formerly issued handgun made by a different manufacturer.
The Virginia Beach Police Department is comprised of various specialized bureaus and units. Although diverse in nature, all of the special units work in close coordination with each other to offer the best service to the community. The Operations Division is the back bone of the Virginia Beach Police Department. The division is composed of the Agency’s four Precincts, Special Operations, Crime Prevention Unit, Animal Control and Auxiliary Police. Day-to-day policing is carried out by officers assigned to the four precincts.
First Precinct is located in the southeastern part of the city and is the largest in square mileage. It borders the City of Chesapeake to the West, the State of North Carolina to the South and the Atlantic Ocean to the East. Second Precinct is located in the Northeastern part of the city. The Second Precinct also borders the Atlantic Ocean to the East, the Chesapeake Bay to the North and the Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven River to the West. The Resort Area of the City is located in the Second Precinct.
Third Precinct is located in the Northwestern part of the city and encompasses the Pembroke section of the city and Town Center. This Precinct borders the City of Norfolk to the West, Interstate 264 to the South, the Chesapeake Bay to the North and the Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven River to the East. Fourth Precinct borders Chesapeake and Norfolk to the West and it serves the largest population of the City. GLOCK pistols serve as an excellent tool for patrol officers due to their reliability and simplicity. Many officers also appreciate the large magazine capacity of the GLOCK 17.
The mission of the Special Operations Bureau is to provide for a safe community and improve the quality of life for all people within city boundaries. Special Operations Bureau does this by the deployment of specialty trained personnel and specialized equipment to address situations beyond the patrol officers capabilities. Special Operations Bureau units include the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT), Bomb Squad, Canine (K9) Unit, Mounted Patrol Unit, Crisis Negotiation Team, Fatal Crash Team, Hit and Run Team, Traffic Safety Unit, Motor Carrier Safety and Environmental Crimes Unit, Motorcycle Unit, Helicopter Unit and the Marine Patrol and Dive Team Unit.
GLOCK pistols also offer many advantages to Special Operations officers. Although SWAT is better known for assault and sniper rifles, the role of the handgun is still vital. In critical situations, GLOCK pistols are used as a backup weapon should a shoulder weapon fail or run out of ammunition. GLOCK pistols are also the first choice in close quarters situations when a long gun cannot be used due to its size. In either situation, GLOCK pistols offer excellent accuracy, which is essential in SWAT operations. Rail equipped GLOCK pistols can also be fitted with flashlights and laser aiming devices which are often necessary for special situations.
The simplicity and ease of operation of GLOCK pistols are important traits for members of the Motorcycle Unit, Mounted Unit and Helicopter Unit. Responsibilities of the Motorcycle Unit include the reduction of traffic-related incidents and deaths within the City of Virginia Beach through aggressive traffic law enforcement. The Motorcycle Unit responds to traffic related calls-for-service, traffic crashes, disabled vehicles, funeral escorts, traffic light outages and assists precinct units as needed. The motorcycle unit also participates in all parades within the city, marathons and other races and dignitary protection escorts. Motor officers regularly assist in escorts of dignitaries such as the U.S. President, Vice President, First Lady, Secretary of Defense and other US and foreign military leaders.
Mounted officers patrol tourist areas and the city center on horseback. The unique perspective of an officer on horseback allows them to deter and detect street crime. Police officers on horses also allow for good interaction with public. This engagement is valuable both for maintaining a positive public image and better communication. Mounted officers are also an excellent resource for searching for lost persons and fugitives on the run.
Aerial support to the various divisions within the Police Department and other City agencies is provided by the Helicopter Unit. Observation from the air allows helicopter officers to see persons, motor vehicles and boats while searching for criminal activity. The Helicopter Unit also aids in the rescue and medical evacuation of persons in distress. In the absence of visible light helicopter crews can use an aircraft mounted searchlight or thermal imaging system. Whether operating a motorcycle, riding a horse, or flying in a helicopter the simple operating system of the GLOCK pistol allows an officer to draw and fire the weapon while on the move.
As a maritime city, Virginia Beach borders the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, there are many inland rivers, bays, lakes and canals. The city encompasses hundreds of square miles of navigable waters and thousands of residents and visitors take part in a variety of waterborne activities. The Virginia Beach Police Department’s Marine Patrol Unit was created in response to the unusual challenges and demands of a large and diverse boating community. The Marine Patrol Unit’s resources and capabilities are dedicated to enforcing local and state maritime laws, rendering assistance in emergency situations and providing security on the waterways. The marine environment and salt water are very harsh on equipment. Fortunately, production features such as the polymer frame and Tenifer finish on metal parts make GLOCK pistols highly resistant to degradation from the wet and salty environment.
A truly multifaceted and effective Police Department serves the public in Virginia Beach. The combination of well- trained, competent personnel along with the best equipment are the elements that have brought recognition to the Virginia Beach Police Department as a truly professional organization. Similarly, design and quality workmanship has brought recognition to GLOCK as the best choice as a police duty pistol.