Huntington Police Department swears in three new officers
HUNTINGTON — Three new Huntington police officer recruits will be headed to the State Police Academy next week after being sworn into their new positions Thursday.
Nicholas Lane, 23, from Florence, South Carolina; Michael Lipscomb, 24, of Michigan; and Hun Tak, 29, of Fairbanks, Alaska, were sworn into office Thursday. Lane and Lipscomb reside in Huntington, while Tak lives in Catlettsburg, Kentucky.
The officers will start their 16-week West Virginia State Police Academy training Monday, Jan. 14. Once they graduate and return to Huntington, the new hires will undergo a two-week training at the Huntington Police Department before going through a minimum 12 weeks of training in the field.
The department now has 92 sworn officers, with a budgeted staffing level of 108. Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial said while the force is still down several officers, he isn’t going to fill the positions just to fill the budget.
“The change is constant, but the level of individuals and what we expect from new hires has not changed. We set a very high standard,” he said. “I would rather have three of the right people than 10 of the not-so-right people.”
Lane said he has lived in Huntington for a while as his wife studies forensics at Marshall University. When he saw the police force was hiring, he jumped at the opportunity.
“I do not have a background in law enforcement, but I have a background in people,” he said. “My degree is in intercultural studies, and this is just something I wanted to do.”
Using his background, Lane hopes he is able to connect better with the community as an officer.
“My goal, as cliche as it may sound, is to protect the citizens of Huntington through the police department and to grow as an officer,” he said. “This is a great department and the department I want to work for.”
HPD unveiled earlier this year a hiring campaign for the next police academy class, but certified officers in West Virginia can receive a $4,000 bonus. The next HPD test date is Feb. 17.
The starting base salary at HPD is $37,643, including a uniform allowance, with opportunity for overtime pay.
Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 40 with a high school diploma or GED. Applicants must be able to do 28 situps in one minute, 18 push-ups in one minute and complete a 1 1/2-mile run in 14:36 to be eligible, along with other interviews conducted by the department.
For more information, visit hpdwv.com/recruit.
Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.