SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Over a dozen troopers with the West Virginia State Police have new badges and positions.
After the 16 troopers took to their new roles over the past weekend, Wednesday was a badge-pinning ceremony at West Virginia State Police (WVSP) headquarters in South Charleston to honor the promotions.
“You might ask why we are doing the recognitions and it is because these folks deserve it,” WVSP Superintendent Col. Jan Cahill, said. “We call it the pinning ceremony today (Wednesday) in every rank in the state police from Sergeant, First Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, and Lieutenant Colonel.”
Cahill pinned three Sergeants, three First Sergeants, six First Lieutenant, two Captains, one Major, and one Lieutenant. They ranged in service from 13 years to 30 years, including Lieutenant Colonel David Nelson, the current longest-serving member with 30 years under his belt. Nelson is now Chief of Field Services.
“We had folks that were promoted that could have already left the agency,” Cahill said. “I think that speaks volumes when the folks will stick around and speaks volumes to the dedications of these individuals. We wanted to let them have their day to shine which they definitely deserve.”
Captain Shallon Oglesby changed the WVSP history books as part of the promotion ceremony, becoming the first ever African American woman captain in the WVSP.
“It means so much,” Oglesby said of her accomplishment. “The department is an amazing department to work for but to etch a little piece of history and show everybody that it can be done and represent the African Americans, minorities and African American females. Hard work pays off. You put your mind to something, you devote time and attention to it, and anything is possible.”
Oglesby, originally from Morgantown, was previously a Lieutenant. She was pinned by her husband Michael as their two children looked on. Oglesby has 20 years of service to the WVSP and will now be the Deputy Chief of Staff Services and assuming Media Relations.
“It was a great time,” she said of having her family there. “My children were with me, my son and daughter. It’s nice for them to see the accomplishments that are there and be a role model for my children and all children.
“We go through daily activities, promoting and sacrificing time with our families. We know that going in and do it happily and willingly. This is just way for the department to show their appreciation for the dedication of the hard-working folks that are with the state police.”
Oglesby said the Captain position and above are not positions that someone is able to test for, rather people are appointed to by Cahill. The other positions are tested and interviewed for. Cahill said all the troopers earned these promotions.
“This process is lengthy,” Cahill said. “The Sergeants through the Lieutenant positions, they go through a lengthy battery of tests and interviews. We just don’t say you’ve got so many years in so we are going to promote, you through the ranks of Sergeant through Lieutenant.”
Major David Lemmon, Captain Joseph Utt, First Lieutenant Shawn Colbert, First Lieutenant Glen Doyle, First Lieutenant Michael Kief, First Lieutenant Harold Petry, First Lieutenant Scott Pettry, First Lieutenant Christopher Zerkle, 1st/Sergeant James Branham, 1st/Sergeant Jason Cooper, 1st/Sergeant Thomas Kearns, Sergeant Jeffrey Cook, Sergeant Edward Loughridge, and Sergeant David Simmons all earned promotions.