Marion residents will soon see two new faces among the town’s police force.
Officers Jordan Propst and Dalton Pennington were sworn in to their posts as Marion police officers during the town council’s Dec. 20 meeting. The pair is slated to begin their training at the Southwest Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy next week.
“I’m really excited to have them both on board at the police department,” said Marion Police Lt. Rusty Hamm, who accompanied Propst and Pennington to the meeting. “I’m looking forward to seeing these guys get through the academy and start their careers in law enforcement.”
Propst comes to the Marion PD from the Marion Correctional Treatment Center, where he worked as a corrections officer.
The 25-year-old said he’s been interested in the law enforcement profession since his days at Marion Senior High School. Being part of something that can make a difference in people’s lives, he said, is part of the appeal.
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“It’s kind of a dream job for me,” he said. “I want to give back and serve the community I grew up in.”
He added, “I guess the biggest thing is just being part of something that can make a change and maybe help people in the long-run.”
Pennington was of similar mind. The 26-year-old father of two was discharged on Dec. 14 from the U.S. Army, where he served as an infantryman and later as a paralegal with the Army’s JAG Corps. A 2013 graduate of Chilhowie High School, Pennington spent eight years in the military, during which time he was deployed to Afghanistan from 2014 to 2015.
“I just felt law enforcement would be a great transition point for me, and it’s just something that I wanted to do,” Pennington said. “As I’ve grown and matured, I’ve realized it’s probably one of the best positions to help and serve the community that I grew up in and that I want my kids to grow up in as well.”
Both Lt. Hamm and MPD Chief John Clair said the two new officers “distinguished themselves during the hiring process and we have no doubt they will be excellent additions to our team.”
“They both demonstrate good people skills, both show great professionalism and maturity” Hamm later added. “We are excited to see them starting their career in law enforcement with us at the Marion Police Department.”
Propst and Pennington are expected to finish up their training in May. Each of the men has taken related college courses—Propst in police science at Wytheville Community College and Pennington in emergency management and homeland security through the University of Arizona. Once they get their police training behind them and settled into new careers, they both say they intend to finish up their respective degrees.
“I look forward to learning everything I can and being able to help people to the best of my ability,” Pennington said.