Profile in Service - Sergeant Carol Burgess
By Public Information Officer M.C. MORRIS MONCURE
May 17, 2017

Sergeant Carol Burgess has a “heart for the kids” and finds joy in nearly every human encounter. Sergeant Burgess joined the Stafford Sheriff’s Office in 2003, after serving in the Army and the Arlington Sheriff’s Office. In 2004, when she became a Middle School Resource Officer (SRO), she was one of six SRO’s at the time; each Middle School SRO covered three schools. Her schools were Drew, Gayle and Rodney Thompson Middle School. She then moved to Brooke Point High School and remained there for seven years as an SRO until she was promoted to Sergeant. As the program has grown, she now supervises portions of SRO activities as a sergeant and works at Rodney Thompson.

The thing Carol loves most about being a School Resource Officer is the daily interaction with the students. In patrol, you may have a one minute or a thirty-minute encounter, and then you may see someone in court. “As an SRO you have daily encounters, which turn into opportunities. Over time you build trust with these young people, and you help shape their perception of law enforcement. They learn you are there for them AND that you want them to succeed,” said Sergeant Burgess.

“When kids make mistakes, that’s just human; mistakes are a part of life. Mistakes CAN become teachable moments. In a time of trouble you can grow and improve, the trick is to ‘latch on’ and learn from a mistake. One of my proudest career moments was to see a troubled kid, who I had to arrest twice, walk across that stage and get his diploma. He learned from his mistakes,” added Sergeant Burgess.

Four years ago, Sergeant Burgess worked to launch the Junior Deputy Academy for upper elementary and middle school students. Students attend a camp-style educational program for one week. “As the week progresses, these young people begin to see law enforcement as people,” Sergeant Burgess continued.

“I love the importance of this work because of the daily interaction with students. I also love teaching D.A.R.E. It’s a great curriculum! It teaches life skills and provides a good process for decision making. “You can be tired before you go into that D.A.R.E classroom, and then you see how excited those 5th graders are to see you – and your entire mood and energy level is lifted. It makes your day!”

Sergeant Burgess is very empathetic to students from a wide-range of backgrounds because she was raised in a family of seven children and had struggles at home. As a child, she witnessed considerable domestic abuse in her own family. She became interested in law enforcement due to unhappy outcomes of the domestic situations. By middle school, she moved in with her great grandmother and two aunts. All three of these women were educators and were determined to make education a top priority for Carol. My two aunts would become principals, so they were always involved in school activities. Carol finished high school and joined the Army, serving for seven years. While in the Army she met her future husband, who was serving in the Air Force. After finishing military service, they both joined the Arlington Sheriff’s Office. She also enrolled at George Mason University. Her diploma and tassel hang proudly on her office wall.

Carol has two adult children, Jonathan Jr. and Jeremy. Jonathan, Jr. recently visited his mom to cheer her on during last week’s Law Enforcement United ride from Chesapeake, VA. to Washington D.C. (photo above.) Carol is passionate about many activities. She is devoted to working out and usually arrives at her gym well before 5 AM. She also loves baking and will throw on her apron, to create something beautiful and sweet, as soon as she gets home.