CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Charleston Police Department welcomed six new members to the force Thursday. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones gave the oath of office to five men who will start the State Police Police Academy Monday and another man, a former Clendenin officer, who will begin field training on the same day.
One of those cadets is Jonathan Hill. He’s the son of retired Charleston Police Captain Jerry Hill who retired last year after 27 years on the job.
“It’s really a proud day for me that he’s taken this step and followed in my footsteps,” said Captain Hill.
Twenty-seven years ago Hill took the same oath of office in the same building, Charleston City Hall. He stressed, however, the job that his son is embarking on is much different from the one he began a quarter century ago.
“When I became a police officer in 1986 the world was a different place than it is today. He’s going to face a lot more challenges than I faced or a lot different challenges,” said Hill.
But Jonathan is ready to take on the job. In fact, it’s been his dream to join the Charleston Police Department.
“Growing up that’s always what I wanted to do. Just being around him and being around all his friends, it made me want to be a police officer,” said the new recruit.
With the addition of the six new recruits, the police force is now fully-staffed according to Police Chief Brent Webster at 163 officers. However, the five recruits heading to the academy will go through 16 weeks of training and then another 14 weeks of field training shadowing a seasoned officer. They should be ready to hit the streets on their own by mid-December. The sixth recruit has already been through the academy and will undergo the 14 weeks of field training and then placed on the beat.
Meanwhile, six current officers are eligible to retire. Webster said he’s not sure how much longer those career officers will remain with the force.