March 22, 2024

Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office Conducts First ‘Senior Safety’ Seminar

The seminar is in response to the growing concern for senior safety and a rise nationwide of assaults on people 65 and older.

VBSO deputies and group of seniors at first Senior Safety Seminar

More than two dozen senior citizens gathered earlier this month at the Senior Resource Center in Creeds to learn lessons that could possibly save their lives. 

Those lessons included situational awareness, how to communicate in an emergency and self-defense techniques taught by the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office during the newly created Sheriff Rocky Holcomb’s Senior Safety Seminar. The seminar was developed to answer the growing concern for senior safety in our community and a rise nationwide of assaults on people 65 and older. 

“We hope to empower seniors with this seminar to always be aware of their surroundings and be confident they would know how to react if confronted by someone trying to harm them,” Holcomb said. “The need for this course is not going away. We will have more and more seniors, from baby boomers to Gen X, in the next 10-20 years.” 

During the seminar, taught by deputies with the VBSO’s Emergency Response Team (ERT), seniors not only got the classroom basics, understanding the importance of your surroundings, reviewing the concepts of staying safe and discussing and reviewing common attacks and reasons for them, but practiced self-defense skills with the ERT. 

“Stay back,” a group of senior yelled in unison as deputies faux aggressively approached them. As they yelled, the seniors back up to create distance from themselves and their “attacker.” 

VBSO instructor teaching senior women defense tactics

“The distance a person maintains with you speaks loudly about their intention and ability,” said Sgt. Nick Davison, who led most of the class. “The distance someone creates with you says a lot about what they want to do. We want to keep that distance.” 

The seminar was met with high praise from the seniors who attended. 

“The safety seminar was so worthwhile and well done, providing important information and techniques that will help us better protect ourselves,” said City Volunteer Nancy Allan. “The hands-on practice was especially beneficial.” 

The ERT is an elite group of deputies who receive specialized training to respond to emergencies and high-risk situations, such as prisoner disturbances, inmate escapes, and barricade and hostage situations. They also assist with high-profile court cases, warrant sweeps, erroneous releases and prisoner transports. In addition to the Senior Safety Seminar, the group also teaches active shooter training for free in the community. 

To request the ERT’s teaching of this FREE seminar, contact

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Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office

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