VIRGINIA – The first father-daughter-son troopers are now part of Virginia State Police history.
In a time when many police professionals are steering their children to other vocations due to the contemporary grind and politics involved, the Gregory family is bucking the trend.
Master trooper Keith Gregory Sr. had the honor of presenting the newest graduate in the family, Keith Gregory Jr., with his diploma Feb. 15. Keith Jr., 24, was part of the 129th Basic Session of the VSP Academy; his sister, Sarah Gregory, 27, from the 123rd Basic Session, is nearing her fourth year as a trooper and working in Charlottesville, reported The Roanoke Times.
Gregory and the other 79 graduates of this Basic Session of 2019 just finished 30 weeks of training at the academy. Now, they will begin field training by riding with another trooper for six weeks to get them acclimated to the area in which they will be serving. Gregory has been assigned to Fairfax.
Gregory Sr. compared the rigorous academy training to military boot camp. “It is very structured….They keep you going all day long.” Along with the academic and practical training, the physical training gets trainees prepared for life as a trooper. Trooper-trainees are provided instruction in number of police related disciplines, including driving, shooting, water rescue and much more.
Keith and Miriam Gregory, an ER nurse at Roanoke Memorial, have been married for over 30 years and live in Floyd County. They have another daughter, Rachel, 28, who followed in her mother’s footsteps and is an ER nurse in California, according to the report.
The children selected their own career paths, Gregory Sr. commented. “I never told my kids where to go to college or what to major in. I never said anything to them about working for the state.” He said when Sarah went to college, she decided to major in criminal justice, and when she graduated, she went into the academy. Moreover, Gregory said his son came to him one day and told him he had applied to state — “you can do that online now” — and that’s when he learned of his intentions. “I never dreamed this in my wildest dreams … (that they would be) going down this road.”
The 129th Basic Session had a higher number of graduates. Gregory said having two sessions a year would be ideal, but the numbers of recruits are sometimes not there. There are simply not as many young people interested in police work now, he noted. “It’s harder to recruit.” The standards remain the same. “There are still strict standards to meet. If you don’t meet them, you can’t come in.”
There was a comment that stood out to Gregory after his son applied. Gregory Jr. told his father that he noticed when he left the house for work in the mornings through the years he was happy, and when he came home he was happy. And it seemed his father really enjoyed what he did.
Gregory, who was in the 86th Basic Session, has been a trooper for 30 years and was with the Roanoke Police Department for five years prior to that time. He said what he enjoys most about his job is helping people. Years ago, he was a member of the volunteer rescue squad and fire department in Moneta, in the area where he lived at that time. Helping people “was always part of my nature. I enjoyed that part of it.”
Apparently that has been evident to his children, too.
Congratulations Gregory family. You make us (LEOs) proud!