Two new troopers on duty
Published 10:39 pm Friday, April 7, 2017
Two new state troopers from Suffolk hit the streets of Virginia in recent weeks after completing a rigorous 29-week training session.
Joshua Shaffer and Geordan Cross were among the latest class of 49 to graduate on March 10. The training encompassed more than 100 different subjects, including crime scene investigation, judicial procedures, self-defense, cultural diversity, firearms and survival Spanish. They reported to their respective division headquarters on March 13 to begin the final phase of their training.
Shaffer is assigned to the Eastern Shore, and Cross is assigned to the Prince William and Fairfax area.
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Shaffer, 21, was homeschooled and received an associate degree in criminal justice from Liberty University.
“I wanted a career that I could serve the commonwealth of Virginia and just serve people,” he said about why he joined the Virginia State Police. “That’s my passion.”
Shaffer said he has two good friends who are also state troopers.
“They were very good influences in my life, and I wanted to be like them,” he said. “The Virginia State Police has a reputation for being the best agency in the United States.”
Shaffer said he has drawn experience from prior jobs he has worked.
“Having good customer service has definitely played a big role into my interaction with people,” he said. “I used to come from working customer service-oriented jobs. Talking with people was a big plus in all those jobs. It has greatly benefited my career.”
He said his favorite part of the job is “interacting with the public and keeping the highways safe.”
The most challenging? “Overcoming paperwork.”
“It’s very paperwork-oriented,” he said. “When I finish my training, I’ll have all the skills I need to do that efficiently.”
Cross is 24 years old and graduated from Nansemond River High School in 2011. He graduated from the University of Virginia College at Wise with a criminal justice degree.
“I’ve always wanted to do law enforcement,” he said.
Cross serves in the U.S. Army National Guard and was a military police officer there. He continues to serve.
“I wanted to do something that could help me further my career,” he said. “The Virginia State Police was a great fit.”
Cross said he enjoys the experience of being in the state police.
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “It gives you a chance to go explore different parts of the state. You meet a lot of people. You get to talk to different types of people from all over Virginia, all over the world.”
Cross said he has enjoyed learning a new area — a large part of his job is spent on interstates 95 and 66 — but it has also been challenging to know exactly where he is at all times.
“As a state trooper, you’ve got to know where you’re at 24/7, so if you get a call, you know the quickest way to get there,” he said.
“It’s a great experience, and I wish more people would consider doing law enforcement,” he added. “It’s a great opportunity.”