Pictured, from left, are Jonathon Warner, Dylan Major and Wade Loudin. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Meet the three newest city police officers as they prep for the State Police Academy in January

BUCKHANNON – The three newest patrolmen at the Buckhannon Police Department will attend the West Virginia State Police Academy in January.

Wade Loudin, Jonathon Warner and Dylan Major began working at the Buckhannon Police Department in 2022. They will attend the state police academy Jan. 16 and graduate April 28, which will provide the new officers with the certification to enforce the law.

“We can’t enforce anything because we’re not certified officers; we can go out and help direct traffic, and we watch a lot of the other officers and receive hands-on training from them,” Loudin said. “We still go out and talk to the community, but the biggest thing we cannot do is enforce the law.”

The officers undergo training leading up to the academy, so they are prepared for its rigorous training.

“There’s a lot of training, we’ve taken a lot of classes, we have a police academy online, and the chief sets up a lot of stuff on there for us to take so we can get familiar with the department and a lot of our equipment,” Loudin said. “That way, when we go to the academy, we’re not blindsided. That way, whenever we’re out of the academy, we know everything we need.”

Loudin grew up in Buckhannon and was encouraged to consider joining the department since he graduated from high school.

“It seems like a good department; my uncle (Lt. Doug Loudin) is the lieutenant, and that helps,” Loudin said. “We’ve had several conversations since I graduated high school in 2016 about the department, about me joining the department and finally, I decided it was time to start a career and stop working in the automotive industry.”

Loudin said his experiences in Buckhannon will make him more proficient as a patrolman.

“I’m raising two kids here, so I’d like to do what I can to keep the community safe and make sure it’s a good environment for them to grow up in, as well as other children,” Loudin said. “I know the streets, I know a lot of the people, and I know a lot of the activity that goes on, so there’s not a lot in the actual town itself that I need to learn since I was born and raised here.”

Jonathan Warner was also born and raised in Buckhannon. He played football at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, which taught him that he always wanted to be involved with the community.

“I did a ride-along with some of the guys here five years ago, and they really brought a family atmosphere, and I knew from that point on that this is what I wanted to do,” Warner said. “They brought that family/community atmosphere, and it drew me in.”

Warner said the officers at the Buckhannon Police Department have been teaching the new officers plenty of lessons prior to the three attending the academy.

“We’ve been able to see how all of these guys do the job and learning different things from each officer; every one of them does things differently,” Warner said. “Some people have different niches like DUIs and drug work, so getting all those aspects from those different officers has been educational and helps us decide what we may want to specialize in.”

Warner said after training at the academy, he would like to focus on weapon training.

“Eventually, I would like to become a weapons instructor, taking all these different classes that they’re going to put me through, and I’m actually really looking forward to that, to build my knowledge in law enforcement and become a better officer every day,” Warner said.

Major came to enjoy Buckhannon later in life after he enrolled at West Virginia Wesleyan College and majored in criminal justice.

“I had my internship here last spring and then the chief, lieutenant and Tim were hounding me about filling out an application,” Major said. “They gave me the application in February and kept telling me to fill it out, and I was beating around the bush, but then I kind of came to terms that I’m not playing college football anymore and I needed a job, so why not? Why not here? Let’s take the chance, and I filled the application out.”

Major came to WVWC from Fredericksburg, Virginia, but he said Buckhannon felt like home quickly.

“The biggest reason why I came here was because of football,” Major said. “I got recruited to play football here, and after I sat down and weighed out my options, it was the best financial place for me, and honestly, it just felt like home from the day I got here.”

Initially, he had no interest in becoming a police officer, but a class with Chief Matthew Gregory and his internship changed his mind.

“I had really no interest in being a police officer, but over the course of my internship from day one, to the day I completed my hours, I became closer to this place,” Major said. “I was here three times a week for however many hours being around all the guys, and it just made it feel like it was home; I felt welcomed.”

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