Governor taps VB emergency management director for state position

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The Virginia Beach director of emergency management is headed to a new job. Erin Sutton will now head up emergency management for the state. 

“To have that confidence at that level that I am the right person for the position is just a tremendous honor,” Sutton said.

Sutton spent years at the head of the Virginia Beach Health Department; the last four years in her current position.

“The experience that I learned here, I hope that I can share across the commonwealth,” Sutton added.

That experience included leading the city though trying times over the past couple years.

“We dealt with things like plane crashes, jet fuel spill, our hurricanes, winter storms and tornadoes,” Sutton said.

But the hardest was helping the city heal from its darkest day — the mass shooting on May 31, 2019 at Building 2 of the Municipal Center. Twelve people were shot and killed, 11 of whom were city employees.

“I’ve been here for 16 years, I knew a lot of the folks that were shot and a lot that were injured,” Sutton added. “There were definitely a lot of lessons learned and definitely 5-31 is ingrained in my mind forever.”

Sutton has now been tapped by Gov. Ralph Northam to be Chief Deputy State Coordinator of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Though she will now be focused on the commonwealth, Hampton Roads will remain a priority.

“Obviously Hampton Roads is on everyone’s agenda up at the state level because of the coastal issues,” Sutton said.

Sutton says she hates to leave, but the opportunity was too good to turn down.

“This is my hometown and obviously will have a special place in my heart,” Sutton added.

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