Officers honored at retirement ceremony
HUNTINGTON — A ceremony for three retiring Huntington police officers took place Wednesday afternoon at the Huntington Police Department headquarters.
Sgt. Rob Stinnett, Pfc. Sid Hinchman and Pfc. Chris Sperry retired with 73 years of combined experience under their belts. All three officers received a proclamation from Huntington Mayor Steve Williams that made Aug. 29 a day named for their recognition.
“When 75 years of experience walks out the door, we become a lesser department,” said Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial.
Sperry and Hinchman were hired on the same day, Aug. 20, 1993, and went through and graduated from the academy together on Nov. 19 of the same year. Stinnett started with the department Aug. 28, 1995.
Sperry served in the patrol bureau working the midnight shift, the detective bureau, the property unit and the violent crime unit, where he served as a detective for 20 years of his career with HPD.
Hinchman worked in the patrol bureau, special investigations and the evening shift. He also served as a training officer, range master, firearms instructor and Master SWAT Operator. He received the U.S. Attorney Award in 2012.
Stinnett worked in the patrol bureau, criminal investigations, property crimes, violent crimes and as a field training officer. He was promoted to corporal in 2006, then to sergeant in 2016.
Retirement does not necessarily mean not working anymore, especially for Sperry, who retired Aug. 20 and was rehired Aug. 21 as a military replacement.
“I only let him retire for nine hours, and then he came back,” Dial said.
Sperry plans to work in the military replacement position until January 2020 and then begin campaigning for a spot as a Cabell County magistrate.
In his time working with HPD, Sperry said one of his most memorable moments is when he saved baby Jesus.
Sperry said he found and arrested the person who had stolen the Jesus out of a business’ manger scene, and the suspect had “completely destroyed” the doll.
“My wife and I painted it up and took it back,” Sperry said. “I said if I can save baby Jesus, I can do anything.”
Sperry, who grew up in Huntington, said serving as a detective in his hometown helped him in his investigations because of the network of people he already had established. He said what he loved most about being a detective was serving people who lost everything or loved ones and being able to solve the crimes committed against them, providing closure to families.
Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter @megosborneHD.