Cpl. Dane Sheely was recognized as the 2021 Virginia Tech Police Department Officer of the Year during a January ceremony.
“[Sheely’s] an incredibly positive individual; he’s got an infectious smile, and he really embodies what we try to encourage our officers to be with respect to making connections with the community,” said Virginia Tech Police Chief Mac Babb.
Sheely has worked for the Virginia Tech Police Department for more than four years. He is a member of the patrol division, serves as a field training officer, and has peripheral responsibilities on the emergency response team.
“He is very much into talking with people about what interests them, and I think that helps him go a long way as far as making deeper connections with people, and people really respond to his positivity,” said Babb. “And it occurs both on and off duty.”
The chief went on to recount a time that Sheely was out celebrating with family at a local restaurant. Sheely invited a student sitting alone to join him and his family for their gathering that evening.
Sheely received a certificate and a spot on a commemorative plaque for his Virginia Tech Police Officer of the Year recognition.
“That’s just the kind of person he is — he’s well-rounded, very confident, very outgoing, and he makes a solid connection every day with people in our university community, and beyond,” said Babb.
When asked what his favorite part of the job is, Sheely took no time to respond.
“The people,” he said. “I’m a people person, and I like to make people smile or tell a joke while I’m out, especially with rescue calls and when people are feeling a little under the weather. It’s nice to see somebody smile.”
The process for selecting the Officer of the Year began with nominations in December. The written nomination asks for a detailed description as to why whoever is being nominated is deserving of the award. The nominations are overseen by the senior command staff and ultimately put to a vote.
“I work with a phenomenal team, and I watch them strive and try their best every day, too,” Sheely said. “This is truly the best place I’ve ever worked. If there’s any environment that’s ever taken care of my family and me, I’m in it right now. I’d recommend this job to anybody; it’s very fulfilling – with challenges, just like everything else. But, the good definitely outweighs the bad.”
“I could think of everybody else in the department that may deserve [the award] more than I do,” he said. “The people I work with are great, and I try to inspire people every day; if you’re not going to do your best, you shouldn’t do it at all. It feels very good to be valued in your place of work, and the police department here at Tech is probably the first job when I’ve ever felt valued and appreciated.”
— Written by Grace Hobson