By Hayley M. Cook
WILLIAMSON - The Williamson Police Department has two new officers, and Chief Barry Blair says the additional help is greatly appreciated.
“We have been very understaffed and this truly does help us out a lot,” Blair said. “It is very important for us to have enough officers on hand. The addition of these guys is good for us and great for the city of Williamson.”
Officers Jordan Colegrove and Blake Sipple were sworn in July 10.
Colegrove is from the Dingess area and graduated from Tug Valley High School in 2012. The WPD will apply to send Colegrove to a future police academy in Institute, Blair said.
Sipple is from the Matewan area and graduated from Matewan High School in 2005. He has served on the Williamson Police Department in the past, from April 2007 to October 2008. From there he went on to work for the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department and later for Alpha Natural Resources.
Sipple, who also worked for the Matewan Police Department, has five years of experience. He attended the police academy in the past, but will need to take a three-week recertification class in the near future.
Blair said that Lt. Grady Dotson will be returning to work in the near future. He had been off on medical leave.
The police chief said he would still like to hire a couple more police officers to put his department back at full strength. He said on some occasions, there is only one officer on duty. Like most law enforcement agencies, the WPD has to staff its force 24 hours a day, seven days per week, 365 days per year.
The WPD lost two officers last year who passed away. Longtime officer Darry Paige and new patrolman Jeff Taylor died in 2013.
Blair said he hopes to increase investigations and crack down on crime in the county seat in the next few weeks. His department will beef up patrols and also perform some DUI checkpoints in the near future.
Sports editor Kyle Lovern contributed to this article.