Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

December 30, 2011

Tazewell law enforcement officers ready for new roles

TAZEWELL, Va. — — Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office deputies turned in their old badges and pinned on new ones Thursday to reflect their new ranks and responsibilities that will greet them during the new year.

Sheriff-elect Brian Hieatt accepted his new badge along with other officers during a ceremony with family and friends at the sheriff’s office. The promotions do not go into effect until Jan. 1, so Hieatt decided to have the early presentations.

“Saturday night at midnight, I will be the sheriff,” he said as officers and their families enjoyed some cake. Having the newly-promoted officers will help send the new administration in the right direction, he added.

“It’s important to me,” he said of the promotions.

“This position that I’ve been elected to is only as good as the department that I have with me. All the men and women here are presenting the image of the sheriff’s office and doing the hard work of the sheriff’s office. A lot of thought was put into it, and I think we’ve got good people in the right positions.”

The promoted officers who received their new badges included the new Chief Deputy, Major Harold Heatley; Chief of Operations Mike Shawer; Capt. Neal Turley; Lt. Jonathan Hankins; Lt. Charles McNerlin; Sgt. Mike Brown; and Sgt. Russell Stowers.

“We’ve got a great department,” Hieatt said. “We’ve got officers, employees and dispatchers here who work hard for the community, and we’re just blessed to have such good people here.”

Awards were also presented to officers and employees for their outstanding work during 2011. Lt. Charles McNerlin was named Deputy of the Year. The Employee of the Year Award was presented to Major Harold Heatley. Dispatcher Becky Belcher was named Dispatcher of the Year, and the Rookie of the Year Award was presented to Deputy Angela Waddle.

Waddle is one of three female officers in the sheriff’s office, Hieatt said later, adding that this is the largest number of female officers ever to serve in the office at one time.

‘I’ve been with the department since June 1 of 2011. I’ve always been interested in law enforcement,” Waddle said. “I started out in 2008 at the prison and just wanted to work my way up to patrol.”

“It is a very honorable position. I’m just pleased to be working with all of these wonderful people. They just feel like family to me,” she said.

“I like helping people, I like being there to help the community, and it’s just a prideful job.”

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