Law enforcement is the career of choice for Cpl. Stanley Britton Jr., his daughter, Vontasia Britton, and his brother, Cpl. Aaron W. Britton II.
On challenging days in the field, the trio has a built in support system — each other.
The Halifax County natives live and work in different cities.
Stanley, known in his family as “Bucky,” works for the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office. Vontasia, known in her family as “Bug,” works for the Virginia State Police in York County. Aaron, known in his family as “Peanut,” works for the city of Lexington Police Department. Despite being in different places, they all know that the others are just a phone call away.
“Whenever Vontasia has a question, she calls either Uncle Bucky or Uncle Peanut. And whenever brother Bucky has a question, he calls me,” says Aaron, who has the most years of law enforcement experience and is known as the “nerd” of the family. Because of that, Aaron says he gets phone calls at “all hours of the day and the night.” But he is happy to be there for his family.
“At the end of the day, it pays that we are a very close, tight-knit family,” Stanley says. “We would do anything for each other.”
Vontasia is still in her first year of law enforcement. She joined the Virginia State Police in June 2020, and the 25-year-old novice says she likes to get the perspective of her veteran father and uncle.
“They know the road; they know what goes on. I like to get their perspective on how to handle certain situations,” Vontasia shared.
Aaron has 27 years of law enforcement experience. He started his career in corrections before joining the Virginia State Police and working with his brother Stanley in Halifax County. He later served as chief of police for the Waverly Police Department and town sergeant for the Glasgow Police Department before joining the city of Lexington Police Department.
Stanley started his law enforcement career as a corrections officer in 1995 before joining the town of Halifax Police Department and eventually joining the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office in 1998, where he still works today. In addition to their law enforcement service, both Aaron and Stanley also served their country in the Army National Guard.
Stanley unknowingly set an example for his daughter, Vontasia, in her childhood. As a young girl, Vontasia said she would watch her father putting on the uniform and getting ready for work every day.
“He was excited to go to work; he loved his job,” Vontasia recalled.
She also saw that people would call him at all hours of the day and the night asking for his advice. That’s when she decided that she wanted to join her father in the field of law enforcement, and help people as he did, even when he was off duty.
“I had no idea that she would go this route…and here she is in the uniform. We’re all extremely proud,” Stanley said.
Vontasia says her parents Stanley and Vonda have always been supportive of her career choices and have always been there for her, even on her most challenging days at the Police Academy.
Like her father and uncle, Vontasia considers law enforcement more than a job. It’s a calling. She mentally prepares herself for duty every day by putting on the uniform – one that carries a great deal of meaning.
“The badge holds such a weight out in the real world,” Vontasia says. “I constantly remind myself that I am always being watched. I want to be seen doing the right thing, doing right by others and being fair.”
The state trooper who aspired to be like her father as a child now calls on him often at the end of the day, and the two of them will recap situations that she has handled.
“In the military, we call it an After Action Review,” Stanley explains. “We talk about what we did right, and what we can do better next time.”
Military service runs in the Britton Family. Stanley and Aaron’s father, Stanley Britton Sr., served in the Vietnam War and received a Purple Heart, and their grandfather served in World War II and the Korean War. With military service running in their veins, a life of service seemed inevitable for Stanley and Aaron.
“When we got to high school, we were both in the JROTC,” Stanley recalls. “Wearing that uniform (in the JROTC), I knew we were both destined to end up in uniform for life.”
As a young boy, Aaron had stars in his eyes when he saw the police car driven by Virginia State Trooper James Hopkins to Clover Elementary School on career day. He remembers his admiration for the police car and respect for Trooper Hopkins.
“Everybody respected him. When he walked into a room, he commanded respect,” Aaron explained.
Stanley’s role model was a comrade in the law enforcement field who also served with him in the Army National Guard and deployed with him to Kosovo – the late Lt. Quentin Clark of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office. Stanley recalled Clark was a true professional who “treated everyone the same,” and he aspired to that level of professionalism.
The Brittons’ profession of choice comes with its share of challenges – having to knock on people’s doors and tell them their family member has died tragically and not knowing when a call may be their last because of the danger that they face each day on the streets. But they say they get a rush when they put on their uniform each day and head to a call, and that’s an indication that they’ve chosen the right career.
Aaron said someone once told him, “If you don’t get excited and hyped up when you put on this uniform, you need to do something different.
“When I go to work, it’s something different every day. I love the fact of being able to know you never know what’s going to happen throughout the day,” he added.
Stanley says he still experiences that rush of adrenaline, and he has been in dangerous situations, even being shot at on the streets of Halifax County.
Because of that element of danger, Stanley says he has honed an air of hyper vigilance, and is constantly aware of his surroundings, even when off duty.
Vontasia agreed, saying that every day she reports for duty, she is aware of the danger she could face.
“My goal is to sign off and end my tour of duty at the end of my shift,” she said.
While the Brittons share the serious moments with each other and offer support, they also share the lighthearted moments, as well.
At the age of 25 and standing at about 5’1, Vontasia says she sometimes gets asked if she is old enough to be a state trooper.
Her uncle Aaron had a similar experience making his first traffic stop solo as a state trooper many years ago. The lady he had stopped asked him, “You got your daddy’s uniform on? You’re too young to be a trooper,” he recalled.
“That one threw me for a loop,” Aaron said, with a chuckle.
Despite their youthful appearance, the Brittons definitely had the know-how to make the traffic stops. They had been called to “protect and serve,” and that’s their mission each day of duty in their careers in law enforcement. Stanley said he hopes his family’s service can be an example to other young people in Halifax County.
“We come from a great family background,” Stanley relates. “I hope we set the path for other young Black people to step up and take the challenge and join the forces.”