The George Washington Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution recently honored Sergeant Joseph Pankey with the Law Enforcement Commendation Medal for his outstanding service to the Sheriff's Office and for his community involvement off-duty. Paul Wagoner presented Sergeant Pankey with the award at a Chapter luncheon at Belle Haven Country Club on Saturday, May 10.
Since joining the Sheriff's Office in 1986, Sergeant Pankey has worked in the Security and Support Services Divisions of the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center and also served as a Training Deputy for 17 years. During his term as Training Deputy, he served with distinction as an instructor at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy, where he helped prepare new recruits to serve at local law enforcement agencies. Promoted in 2011, Sergeant Pankey was assigned as a Team Sergeant at the Adult Detention Center for two years before returning to Administrative Services to head the Office's Training Unit.
Sergeant Pankey is committed to the important work of training Sheriff's Office staff to perform with excellence. He is a "master of his craft," an expert trainer who combines technical skill with a real caring for his students. His achievements include the implementation of Patrol Refresher training and an online training program patterned after the Academy's online training for legal and cultural diversity. The online program makes it possible for sworn staff to obtain credit hours towards their mandatory in-service training requirements. His contribution to developing well-trained and prepared staff greatly enhances deputy safety on and off the job.
Sergeant Pankey also coordinates the Office's Honor Guard. As second in command of the Honor Guard, he brings his same dedication to excellence, a spirit that is reflected in the time and expertise he provides to making this volunteer unit the best it can be. A strong mentor and support to his colleagues, Sergeant Pankey is always available for advice, guidance and a helping hand. His experience, compassion and knowledge have been instrumental in advancing the careers of many deputies in the Office.
Sergeant Pankey's dedication to serving others is also displayed in his engagement with the community off-duty. A Civil War historian, he is involved with a living history group that teaches children and adults about 19th century history through reenactments, lectures and activities. His efforts have helped make history interesting and fun for young people who have a curiosity about the issues and events of the past. Sergeant Pankey is also active in his church community, where he assists his wife Betsy in running the church's food ministry. Sergeant Pankey fully credits his wife for this effort, describing his role as an extra pair of hands for fetch and carry and for repairs and maintenance to the food pantry facility.
During his 28 years with the Sheriff's Office, Sergeant Pankey has earned 35 letters of commendation as well as the respect of his colleagues and supervisors, who were proud to nominate him for this recognition.