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Suffolk Police gets 10 new officers

The Suffolk Police Department has 10 new officers following a badge pinning ceremony Aug. 4 in the City Council chamber at City Hall.

The new officers include Joe B. Cipcic, Jalin T. Green, Danielle S. Jones, Charles H. Lauster, Trent A. Marshall, Brandon S. Pruitt, Amber L. Stahr, Clay S. Strobel, Kristian J. Thomas and Alex J. Wittman.

Interim Police Chief Al Chandler told the new officers not only to savor the day and their “amazing accomplishment,” but also “to stop and smell the roses” in the midst of their job. He advised them that the work will be challenging and difficult, but also rewarding.

“Today is a very good day,” Chandler said. “It’s OK to smile. I know it’s police, but believe it or not, this is a great job to have. This is a day that, throughout the rest of your career, you will never forget this day, this moment. Enjoy it. You know there’s more to come, and there’s going to be some rough days, but this is the day that you look back at and you say, ‘You know what? Even though it’s not easy, I love what I do.’”

Mayor Mike Duman said it was only fitting that the ceremony was taking place the day after the city’s National Night Out events across the city.

“I commend and thank each of you for deciding to become a Suffolk Police officer,” Duman said. “Here, when we say Suffolk’s finest, we mean just that, especially during these unprecedented times, the strength, commitment and courage that it takes to put on a badge and to work every day to protect and serve our community is most admirable.”

Duman said the reputation for fairness in the department is something residents expect and deserve, but is also something that they respect and appreciate.

“Times have changed and continue to change,” Duman said. “What has not changed is your role in society, which is to protect and serve. You are the 24/7 helpline and defense for our streets and neighborhoods.”

Chandler said the officers have been well-trained and had to ace all the required tests, but he said that starts anew following the ceremony. They will be trained on the weaponry they have, he said, but also in how to avoid using them if at all possible.

He said the officers need to be trusted, and even though they will make mistakes, they will want to minimize and learn from them. And in the next four months, Chandler said the department is going to pack in a year-and-a-half worth of information.

“Today is the day you get to don your capes and become citizen-heroes,” Chandler said. “See, that uniform that we wear means something. It really does. It means quite a bit. It says something every time you put it on. It says that the person wearing this uniform is special. Are you special? Yes you are. Are you different? Yes you are. Are you a cut above? Yes you are. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be here.

“That uniform that you wear, it says that you are honest, and if you haven’t heard already, honesty is absolutely number one here. That uniform says you’ve been tested and trained. That uniform says that you’re here to help. But that uniform also says to law violators that you will be relentless when it comes to keeping the citizens of Suffolk, and the streets of Suffolk, safe.”