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Virginia Sheriffs' Institute
Supporting Virginia’s Sheriffs & Deputies

On May 1, 2024, Sgt. M. England was working an off-duty uniformed detail on a NASSCO-Norfolk Security Boat along with the Captain of the NASSCO boat. Towards the end of their shift a mayday call was received over the marine radio requesting the Coast Guard respond for a man in distress in the water near the Jordan Bridge. Knowing the Coast Guard’s response could take a little while and knowing how close they were to the incident Sgt. England told the boat captain he had “a duty to act” and if the Captain could get to the scene quickly, they should respond.

They arrived on scene as Chesapeake Police, Fire and Rescue personnel arrived on shore. First responders on shore were directing the boat captain and Sgt. England’s attention to a male in the water. They then spotted a man who was visibly exhausted and clinging to a concrete piling. The boat captain was able to maneuver the boat close enough to the male so Sgt. England could grab a hold of him. Sgt. England and the boat captain were able to get the male on board the boat and safely on shore where he was turned over to emergency medical services. It was later determined the male, who was in his 50s, had been kayaking in the Elizabeth River when his kayak capsized and he was not wearing any type of personal floatation device.

Later, during a conversation with Chesapeake Battalion Chief Emmons, we learned the fire boat was on its way, but hadn’t arrived on scene yet and the man may not have been able to hang on until the boat arrived. Chief Emmons expressed his gratitude for Sgt. England’s and the boat captain’s quick response.

During a recent Awards Ceremony, Sheriff Baron presented Sgt. England with the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office Meritorious Performance Ribbon. This ribbon is awarded to sworn employees who are involved in an incident where the employee was attempting to save another’s life.