NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A new change is coming to honor military veterans in the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Joe Baron approved new branch pins for the office’s veterans to display on their uniforms.
“When I became sheriff, I thought it was important for people to show their pride for serving their country,” he said.
Before, employees wore an American flag to honor their service. The new pins have different colors for each branch and are now distinctly labeled. The branch pins are worn under their NSO badge.
There are 109 sworn staff members in the sheriff’s office who are now outfitted with their military branch pin. It sits right below the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office badge.
“About 34% of our staff are prior military,” Baron said. “It’s a big deal. It’s a big chunk of our workforce and we are proud of them.”
Baron also wears one. He served in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserves.
“You can take pride in the fact that you served in the Navy or the Army or the Marine Corps or the United States Air Force,” he said.
Baron said these pins are a great way to connect with the community.
“When you are out in public and someone sees on your uniform that says Navy, they may come up and say, ‘Hey, why do you have that on there or did you serve? I served.’ It’s a great conversation starter,” he said.
Baron said in the office it also brings a healthy dose of banter.
“There is a little bit of a rivalry,” he said. “You know between, ‘Oh, you have an Army pin, not a Navy pin.”
Baron hand-delivers these pins to his deputies as a way to salute them for their service.
“With so many active duty and retired military in our area, we hope these pins show a common bond between our employees and the citizens of our community,” a release stated. “Thank you to all of those who have served our country.”