VSI Scholarship brings financial help to Criminal Justice students

Published 8:14 am Tuesday, February 6, 2024

The Suffolk Sheriff’s Office is assisting students looking for a law enforcement career. Sheriff E.C. Harris and his staff are presenting the Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute Scholarship to upstanding Virginia college students studying criminal justice. Applications are now open, with a deadline of May 1, 2024.

During a Wednesday, Jan. 24 interview, both Sheriff E.C. Harris and Chief Deputy Maj. David Miles provided more details about the scholarship for those who are unaware.

“The only caveat is that [they] have to be Criminal Justice major and the Sheriff in that locality has to be a part of the Virginia Service Association,” Miles said.

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Sheriff E.C. Harris followed up by saying that the school has to be a Virginia-based school and that it is a “renewable” scholarship that can take students through their studies.

“And I think if someone was pursuing a master’s degree in Criminal Justice, it may even follow it through there,” Harris said. “We’ve had many, many young people who have gotten it four years in a row.”

According to Harris, funding for the scholarship is fueled by businesses and individuals throughout Virginia to help students in need.

“Here in our city, there are a lot of businesses and individuals who donate to the Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute and all that money goes [to] scholarships for deserving kids that are trying to go to school. And we really appreciate those that donate to the Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute, because we have some that have donated multiple times throughout the year. It’s just really been outstanding,” Harris said. “We’ve had many kids that have got it, and they come back and do internships with us. Many of them are in law enforcement … It’s a good thing because these young people need all the help they can get.”

Noting the nationwide shortage of law enforcement, Harris gave final comments for those interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement.

“We would encourage them [that] it’s a rewarding career,” Harris said. “You’re not going to get rich, but you can make a living and live a rewarding life of helping the community. I am hopeful that more will apply and we can start filling some of the vacancies that we have nationwide that all they do is hurt the community. Because there’s nobody there to answer the calls and be seen and tamp crime down.”

For more information and to apply, go to vasheriffsinstitute.org/programs/scholarship.