Darryl Holley started his law enforcement career at the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office in 1993 as a patrol deputy. Now he’s back in Louisa after his promotion in December to first sergeant for the Virginia State Police.
Holley grew up in Louisa, where his parents owned a Sears catalog store. Holley always wanted to be in law enforcement. When he was 21, he applied but was turned down. He continued to work with his mother at the store, where he met and became friends with Captain Bill Seay, who was second-in-command at the sheriff’s office at the time.
When the Sears store closed, Seay told Holley about a patrol deputy position that was opening up and encouraged him to apply.
“I thought that dream was over, to be honest with you,” Holley said. “When Bill Seay came and talked to me, that dream was revived.”
Holley spent the first two years of his career at the sheriff’s office and the next two years in undercover narcotics, working for a task force in conjunction with the state police. Holley says working on this task force taught him a lot about narcotics investigations, search warrants, how prolonged investigations work, and what it’s like to work with other agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation. He says the work was challenging but rewarding.
“When you’re taking drugs off the street, putting drug dealers in jail, and solving murders out of it … you feel like you’re doing something productive at the time that’s making a difference in people’s lives,” Holley said.
In 1997, Holley moved to a job with the state police and went to the academy. His first assignment was in Culpeper, where he was based for seven years. He later worked in Fairfax for two years before switching back to Culpeper. In 2005, he was promoted to sergeant.
At different stages of his career, Holley has faced challenges. He says the most challenging part of the academy was learning case law and law interpretation. Now, he says technology can be a challenge, but it’s one he welcomes.
“I’m an old-school guy, so the computer stuff is a big change, but it makes us more efficient, productive, and makes it safer for our troopers,” Holley said. “Sometimes I feel like an older person that’s caught in the technology wave, but I’ve been surrounded by a lot of good people who have helped me through that.”
Reflecting on his time in law enforcement, Holley says one of the most rewarding parts have been the friendships among other police officers and their families, and one of the most challenging parts can be achieving a positive work-life balance.
Another challenge facing law enforcement is the perception of the public, Holley says. He hopes the relationship between law enforcement and the general public can heal over time, saying it will take cooperation from all sides.
“I look forward to finding that bridge back with the general public so they know we’re here to look out for them,” Holley said. “That’s why all of us get into this work, because we want to be able to help people. We want to be able to make a difference in our communities.”
Holley hopes to finish his law enforcement career in the very place it started and says he’s happy to be back in Louisa County.
As first sergeant, Holley will oversee state police operations in Louisa and Goochland counties.
“I’m very excited to be working back in the community that I love,” he said. “It has reinvigorated me.”