VIENNA - The Vienna Police Department welcomed two new officers to the force in December, officials said.
Jordan Michael Goode, 26, and Michael Blaine Ritchie, 19, came to work on Dec. 14, said Vienna Police Chief George M. Young. This is the first police job for both men, said Young.
With Goode and Ritchie, Vienna has 18 officers, the maximum number for the force, said Young. The two were hired after an officer left the force in the fall and a second announced he will retire in 2014, Young said.
Photo by Gretchen Richards
The Vienna Police Department welcomed the newest members, Michael Blaine Ritchie, left, and Jordan Michael Goode. Both graduated the Police Academy on Dec. 13 and started the following day.
"The amount of crime in Vienna has remained steady, but we have been low on manpower for years now," said Young. "I can't remember the last time we had a full staff here." he said.
Having Goode and Ritchie on the force will alleviate much of the overtime that other officers have been putting in lately, said Young. Scheduling becomes difficult with low manpower, especially when continuing training and vacations are taken into account, said Young.
Goode and Ritchie entered the same class at the Police Academy on Aug. 26, said Young. They were both in the top 20 of their class when they graduated on Dec. 13, said Young.
The somewhat ominous day of their graduation has become a point of humor at the Vienna Police Department, said Young.
"They graduated on Friday the 13th, and I told them I expected them both at work at 9 a.m. the following morning, even though it was a Saturday," Young said.
Goode and Ritchie made their debut on the Vienna streets during the city's Christmas parade on Dec. 14, said Young. That first shift lasted only three hours, but was enough time to show that both men have a promising future ahead of them, said Young.
"We are fortunate with these new hires," said Young. "After only a few short weeks, I couldn't be more proud or impressed with them," he said.
The two recruits have spent the past few weeks in the company of more experienced officers, getting to know the ins-and-outs of the office and their positions, said Young. The academy gives new recruits a great start on their careers, but it is applying that knowledge in the field that is the hardest part for new officers, said Young.
"When you are new, there are so many things that you have to remember to do, and the right order to do them in," said Young. To prevent this from being overwhelming, the new recruits spent much of the time in their first weeks riding with more experienced officers to receive Vienna-specific training and advice, said Young.
Ritchie recounted the past few weeks with enthusiasm when asked about his experiences with other officers.
"It's a lot different than it was in the academy," said Ritchie. "Everything that we dealt with at the academy was a worst-case scenario. I've learned that everything isn't worst-case when you're on the streets. The people I have encountered have been very kind and reasonable," he said.
Goode reflected on his past few weeks with equal excitement.
"The academy taught me how to keep a level head and how to deal with bad situations in a controlled environment," said Goode. "Actually being on patrol has shown me that things don't always happen by-the-book when you're on the streets, and that a level head is really needed as an officer," he said.
Both new officers commented that they look forward to working with the Vienna Police Department for many years to come, and to everything they will learn along the way.
Goode is looking forward to finding his niche on the team. "I am excited to be here, and to get out there and help people whenever I can," said Goode.
Ritchie is looking forward to becoming more confident in himself and his abilities in the future. "I'm very happy to be on the force here," Ritchie said. "I know that in a community this size, even a small thing can make a big difference in someone's life, and I'm happy to be able to offer that help to people," he said.
Bringing in fresh recruits to a police force can result in everyone becoming re-energized, said Young. While getting new recruits accustomed to everyday situations, other officers often rediscover their own love of the job, he said.
"With a department this size, when you bring in two brand new guys at once, it can be a shot in the arm," said Young. "Their enthusiasm for the job has been refreshing and contagious to us all," he said.