PARKERSBURG - More than 100 people from all branches of law enforcement and their families gathered in Parkersburg Monday for a ceremony and awards reception in recognition of National Police Week.
Members of the Vienna and Williamstown police departments, Wood County Sheriff's Department, the West Virginia State Police, the FBI, the U.S. Marshal Service and Wood County 911 were among the officials who attended the Parkersburg Police Department's standing-room-only event.
Booth Goodwin, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, was the featured speaker.
Parkersburg honors police during National Police Week.
"We are here to show our appreciation for their unwavering commitment to the community," Goodwin said.
Former city police chiefs Jim Midkiff, Larry Gibson, Mayor Bob Newell and Gerald Board also attended.
Officials held a short ceremony, laying a wreath in front of the City Building, in recognition of those who have fallen in the line of duty.
Members of the West Virginia State Police observe a moment of silence. More than 100 people from all branches of law enforcement and their families gathered in Parkersburg Monday for a ceremony and awards reception in recognition of National Police Week. (Photos by Jody Murphy)
Goodwin and city police officer Greg Collins recounted the loss of U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller, who was killed in the line of duty earlier this year. Hotsinpiller was killed in Elkins serving a warrant on a drug suspect.
"We were all reminded of the danger," Goodwin said of the shooting.
Goodwin described law enforcement officials as community problem solvers who do it all- from crime solving to helping stranded motorists.
"We can count on them to respond everyday," he said.
Following Goodwin's remarks, officers Matt Eichhorn and Charles Wolfe carried the wreath to the memorial in front of the City Building, while officer Seth Cook played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. The officer handed the wreath to Newell and Goodwin, who placed it in front of the memorial.
Brian Harrell, pastor at the Liberty Street Church of God, asked for a moment of silence and delivered a prayer.
Police Chief Joe Martin handed out awards to civilian personnel for their donations to the department.
Martin singled out Councilman Tom Joyce and Dwane Weekley, with St. Joseph's Ambulance Service, for providing funds to purchase a Taser gun. Martin presented awards to Tom Swords, V96 Radio and Newell.
John Corbitt, a 19-year veteran of the city police department, was honored as the city's officer of the year. Martin singled out Leslie Board, Doug Sturm, Mike Brown, Decker Moody and Cook for outstanding work and service this year.
The city police's ceremony is one of several being conducted this week to commemorate National Police Week. Martin said Monday's event was not a competition with any other events. The chief simply wanted to recognize his own officers and their work.
Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Jason Wharton wrapped up the awards with the presentation of the C. Scott Durig Award to Collins, for excellence in criminal justice.
Wharton said Collins works well with all agencies in the state.
"He does not focus on who gets credited with the arrest, but instead that the investigation is done and it is done right. If there is not enough evidence to make an arrest, he simply works harder to try to build his case. He is not afraid to ask questions that may assist him or to offer his advice to younger officers."
Collins, an officer since 1998 who twice has been named an officer of the year, is a member of the Parkersburg Violent Crimes and Narcotics Task Force.
"He is genuinely concerned about the community that he serves and is a credit to the Parkersburg Police Department," Wharton said.