CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Clarksburg Mayor Ryan Kennedy welcomed seven new police officers to the force during a ceremony Thursday.

The police department grew to 40 officers with Thursday’s ceremony.

“Clarksburg, unfortunately, has been down police officers for quite a while and we’re trying to rebuild our force,” Kennedy said. “We’ve brought in seven new police officers that we’ve sworn in today. One of whom is already a qualified police officer which means he can hit the beat quickly.”

Kennedy added they expect to hire a new police chief by the end of the month.

“We had over fifty applications from 12 different states,” he noted.

Jason Snider is serving as the interim police chief.