CHESAPEAKE, Va. - It sounded like euphoria and people having a great time on the lake’s shores at Oak Grove Lake Park.
While there was some fun, a group of cadets from the Chesapeake Sheriff's Office “Elite Unit” were undergoing training as they were cheered on by volunteers and family.
This annual training session is called "Splash in the Lake." The event and the unit give the cadets a chance to be as close as possible to training for law enforcement.
"These are intellectually-challenged local citizens that we've worked with in other areas,” Maj. David Rosado said. “They love law enforcement so we want to teach them what law enforcement is about."
Rosado helps oversee the program, now in its third year.
"They're going through a modified and adaptive academy,” Rosado explained. “This is a sheriff's office academy, they'll learn physical fitness, self-defense, first aid, how to interact with the public."
There are 14 members including Javonta Riddick.
"It's made a difference, an impact and getting a good experience, and environment,” Riddick said.
Riddick said he has autism, but that is not stopping him from realizing his passion for law enforcement. He said he has been a member for a year and added it started when he spoke with Chesapeake Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan.
“He asked me, do you want to start in an Elite Unit program for a kid who has a special need like me,” Riddick said.
The sheriff's office could not have put this program on without some community help. As Rosado explained, one local organization offered their time and equipment to support the program.
"Virginia Beach Adaptive Water Sports will be here,” Rosado said. “They'll have boats out, they'll have jet skis, they'll have modified skis as well as rafts and tubes."
If you know of someone who is interested in the program, Rosado explained where more information can be found.
"Once we're done this year, we'll take consideration for other Elite Unit candidates for next year,” Rosado explained, “If you look at our Chesapeake Sheriff's Office Elite Unite Facebook page, you'll see more information on the program.”