STAFFORD CO., VA -- A deputy in Stafford County, Virginia, is getting national attention for his dance moves.
Deputy Deuntay Diggs recently auditioned for America's Got Talent. But that wasn't his first brush with fame. This "Dancing Deputy" reached internet fame last August, when he danced and lip synched in a back to school event at the Spotsylvania Towne Center.
Then in October, he participated in a pep rally at North Stafford High. There he performed with the dance team and then broke out into a solo routine of beyonce's formation.
"Dancing in the uniform what I found is that it humanizes law enforcement it's also a way to connect with the youth and so music is the universal language and I've found it puts people at ease," Diggs said.
The 32-year-old says dancing has given him an opportunity to interact with the community and help change negative stereotypes associated with law enforcement.
"I never pictured dancing in a uniform would have so many positive effects but I have definitely, helped bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement"
Diggs has been deputy for eight years and he's also a motivational speaker. Some of the topics he discusses include issues of race, diversity, and sexuality. His passion to speak about those issues stemmed from his childhood experiences.
"As a child I went through physical abuse, I watched my mom being beat on by her boyfriends, and at one she did marry my middle brother's father," said Diggs. "We moved around a lot because my mother was either trying to get away from her biological family, her sisters, and parents or she was trying to evade social services or things of that nature. We constantly moved and there was times, we did not have food to eat, I went through years of molestation."
As a child, Diggs tells DCW50 he used music and dancing as a way to escape all the troubles at home.
"For a long time, I did not have a voice, and music became my voice, was my way to express myself without truly speaking what was truly going on behind closed doors"
At the age of 13, a family invited him to live with them permanently in North Carolina. As years passed, he focused on school and his foster family encouraged him to attend college.
"I found out I was going to VMI and it was overwhelming, here I am thinking I would never have that opportunity."
In his freshman year at the Virginia Military Institute, Diggs came out. He received some backlash at home and school he said his classmates taunted him and his foster family told him he was no longer a part of the family.
Diggs says he was the first openly gay cadet, and also the first openly gay deputy at Stafford County Sheriff's Office. He says the department has been supporting and accepting.
"This department embraced me for who I am and to be myself and to grow here and so it's been a great environment."
Deputy Diggs says he's working on an autobiography and it should be ready by next year.