Two sons follow father's footsteps to become Virginia state troopers

VSP Brothers and Father

The only thing Matthew and Jacob Burgett liked more than playing cops and robbers was a TV show that depicted the same thing. Seeing real-life officers bust the bad guys on “COPS” was what their dad, Scott, did every day as a state trooper, and the brothers couldn’t wait to join him in uniform. “I always thought it looked really cool,” said Matthew, 26, who became a Virginia State Policeman three years ago. “The fast cars. The sirens. I always had my mind set on law enforcement.” Jacob, who’s 23 and recently graduated from the State Police Academy, added: “I’ve never really thought of anything else.” Clearly. As the brothers talked, their mother, Cindy Burgett, went to the cabinet of their Fredericksburg home where she keeps construction paper artwork and cards made by her three children. (The couple’s oldest, Sarah, is 28, and followed her mother into the medical field. Cindy is a neonatal intensive care unit nurse, and Sarah is an X-ray nurse.) Cindy retrieved a Father’s Day card, undated, that Jacob had done, probably in elementary school. The cover showed his father’s uniform from the neck to the black attachments on his belt. There was a dark blue tie, his dad’s badge and name tag. Inside, Jacob had scrawled the lines from the theme song of his favorite show: “Bad boys, bad boys. Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?” Then, he signed the card on the last page. Next to the drawing of a police car with two antennas, he wrote “Happy Father’s Day!” in oversize letters and included a postscript that really spoke to where his head—and heart—were. It read: “PS: you rock dude!” Their father may have wanted to say the same to his boys when they graduated from Basic Trooper Session. Participants can have a relative or friend, also in law enforcement, hand them their diplomas, or they can get them from the Virginia State Police superintendent. The person Matthew and Jacob Burgett chose was 1st Sgt. Scott Burgett, who beamed with pride. “This is fantastic,” he said at Jacob’s graduation. Like the ceremony, the training classes—all 1,340 hours spread out over 29 weeks and 98 courses—are held at state police headquarters in North Chesterfield near Richmond. Each member of the Burgett family attended Jacob’s graduation. Matthew is three years older, but when he and his brother stood next to each other in uniform, with the same buzz cut and “cover” on their heads, they looked like twins. All the Burgetts have blue eyes, but the boys’ are the color of a glacier, like their mother’s. It’s not unusual to have fathers and sons, dads and daughters and husbands and wives on the force, said Virginia State Police Capt. Todd Taylor. Matt is under his command, and Taylor often jokingly tells Scott—who he’s known more than 25 years—that he’s the second-best trooper in the family. He teases that he’ll have to change it to third best now that Jacob has joined. Then, on a serious note, he said the Burgetts are “thinking men” who reason their way through problems. “I’m just proud of them all,” he said. “They’re good folks, a good family. I would like to have a whole bunch more of them.”