Three to graduate from VSP

Published 10:24 am Saturday, June 11, 2011

RICHMOND—A Virginia State Police trooper who visited Chris Turner’s third-grade class on career day left a lasting impression.

So much that when the 36-year-old Southampton County man lost his job at International Paper on April 1, 2010, he applied to the police academy.

Turner is one of three from Western Tidewater who on Friday, June 24, will be among 62 to graduate from the 37-week VSP training program in Richmond. Trooper trainee Turner and Quenton Buchanan, 32, another former IP worker from Sedley, will be stationed in the Chesapeake-Suffolk area, while trooper trainee Mike Mavredes, 29, of Franklin and a former Franklin firefighter, will be based in Suffolk-Sussex County.

For the trio, the physical training and learning, and after-hours studying has been intense, and the weekends home with family too short.

“The support we’ve had from a lot of people has helped us get through this,” Turner said. “When we’d go home for the first six or seven months, it was a tough schedule trying to study and spend time with family.”

Hired on Oct. 10, they began training two days later. Four weeks were spent assigned to a trooper on the road.

The guys learned about paying attention to detail, using firearms, self-defense and keeping their sleeping quarters in neat order. That’s just a tip of the program.

After graduation, they will be full-time VSP troopers.


Turner worked at IP for 12 years in the sheet finishing department. The assistant chief for Hunterdale Volunteer Fire Department, he had always wanted to be a trooper since that career day.

“We had a firefighter, farmer and nurse (come visit), but when that master trooper came to the school and talked to us, I just looked up at him, and his car and all the instruments. It caught my attention.”

Also, as a volunteer firefighter, Turner has worked with police on accidents.

“We have a close working relationship,” he said.

When he lost his job at IP, Turner and his wife, Ginny, were “down in the dumps.”

“I figured this would be a good time to turn a positive out of a negative,” said Turner, who is the father of Haylee, 11, and Brandon, 8.

Turner said he’s excited about starting his new job.

“It’s always been a childhood dream,” Turner said. “I remember my mom when I came home that first week, and she asked ‘how was the academy?’ The only way I could break it down was saying it was like going to college and being in the military rolled into one. It’s a lot of studying and there’s a lot of classroom work involved.”


Quenton Buchanan thought about becoming a trooper long before losing his job of 10 years at IP. He applied to the academy six months before leaving the paper mill on April 9, 2010, but was turned down.

Attending the funeral service for senior Trooper Robert Hill Sr., who was killed the day after Thanksgiving in 2006 while conducting a traffic stop on Route 58 in southwest Southampton County, also left an impression on Buchanan.

“I have a lot of friends who are troopers, and when I went to that funeral, I just saw the respect and camaraderie,” he said. “I thought about joining the military and thought maybe this will be the closest step to the military.”

He is excited to get on the job.

“I finally get to do pretty much of what I learned,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan and his wife, Michelle, are the parents of Jordon, 9; Savannah, 8; Taylor Ann, 6; and Ty, 2.


Mavredes will be a third-generation VSP trooper. His father, Louis Mavredes of Lee County, served from 1984 to 2002. Michael Mavredes’ grandfather George Mavredes was a trooper from 1948 to 1981, passing shortly after retiring.

“I just kind of grew up with it; it was a family thing,” he said. “I’d always had a strong interest in law enforcement.”

As a firefighter, Mavredes worked with troopers when responding to accidents, which also convinced him to apply to the academy.

While in the academy, he said, everyone in the program becomes one big family.

Mavredes and his wife, Angela, are the parents of Allyson, 5.