RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia Capitol Police are ushering in a new era this week with the unveiling of a small but significant change to uniforms that will honor employee’ service to their nation’s military.
A new Capitol Police policy provides for the division to recognize all employees who have served in the military or are continuing to serve by giving each a pin representing their respective service branch. The round, 1-inch-diameter pins can be worn either on sworn officers’ uniforms or, in the case of civilian employees, their work clothing.
“The decision to put one’s country above yourself is not to be taken lightly,” said Col. Anthony S. Pike, the Capitol Police chief, “and I’m glad we found a way to honor that sacrifice by our employees.”
Pike, who joined the U.S. Army out of high school and used his military service as a springboard to a career in law enforcement, said the fact that one-fourth of the division’s 125 employees are eligible to wear the pins “shows our stakeholders that the Capitol Police are at the forefront when it comes to dedication to serving others.”
Thirty-one of the division’s employees have served or are continuing to serve in the Marines, Army, Navy or Air Force. The division currently has no Coast Guard veterans.
The idea behind the military service pins came from Capitol Police Major Mark Sykes and Richmond Police Major John O’Kleasky shortly before Memorial Day. O’Kleasky told Sykes that Richmond was getting ready to start a program to honor its officers with military connections by purchasing service branch pins to give them to display on their uniforms.
The original RPD plan limited the pins to sworn personnel, but it proved so popular that it was quickly expanded to include all employees. The Capitol Police program, which took effect Dec. 1, is following that lead by making the pins available to all employees who have served or are continuing to serve in the military.
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