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Virginia Sheriffs' Institute
Supporting Virginia’s Sheriffs & Deputies
Students listen to NNSO Chief Deputy Col. Shonda Whitfield.

Many high school students do not know what they will do after graduation – go right to work, go to college, or get skills training.

50 10th graders visited the Newport News Sheriff’s Office on February 5 to learn about public safety and the law. They are in the Academy of Law and Public Safety, which focuses on those career paths while meeting the requirements for graduation.

The students met with several NNSO command staff, including Chief Deputy Col. Whitfield, Services Bureau Chief Major Hubbard, and Operations Bureau Chief Major Hayes. During their visit, they sat in a courtroom to hear about the NNSO’s responsibility for court security and to Booking to see what happens when a person is arrested and brought to the city jail.

At court, the students heard from Judge Tyneka Flythe, the chief judge of Newport News Circuit Court. She explained the differences between JDR, General District, and Circuit courts.  

Several students raised their hands when she asked who was interested in a law career.  

Chief Judge Tyneka Flythe talks about the importance of lawyers in the justice system.  

“Being a lawyer is rewarding. “People who need help come to us. It’s our job to help put people back together.”  

She also said there are all kinds of lawyers and not to be afraid to think outside the box. “The law is a big — corporate law, family law, real estate, criminal and civil attorneys, judges, non-profit work.”     

From the court, deputies escorted the students to see the booking area and get an overview of the process. They saw cells and the Booking seating area, where people wait in a calm area with a TV and they can move around.  

It was soon time to board the buses and return to school. While most students said they weren’t sure what they wanted to do after high school, others were planning for careers outside public safety and the law, like engineering or real estate. Monday’s tour opened their eyes to the demands and discipline required to be successful in law enforcement or a legal career.