News, Police

O’Brien and Walls sworn in as new Hancock police officers

by Geoff Fox

There are two new officers officially patrolling the streets of Hancock.  Mayor Tim Smith swore in the new officers during the June town meeting June 7.

Smith first swore in Officer Donnie O’Brien followed by Jesse Walls. Both officers had just graduated from the Police Academy at Hagerstown Community College.

After he was sworn in, Nancy O’Brien pinned her son’s badge on his uniform. Kelly Walls also did the same for her son.

Sgt. Rich Miller told everyone that O’Brien was awarded the Chris Nicholson Award, which is presented to the cadet in the Washington County Police Academy who demonstrated courage, determination, and the refusal to quit spirit embodied by Officer Nicholson.

Nicholson, who was a member of the Smithsburg Police Department, was shot and killed in the line of duty on December 19, 2007, and had graduated from the police academy a few years earlier.

“For one of our officers to get it, it made us real proud,” said Councilman Roland Lanehart, Jr.

The two new officers went through 28 weeks of training at the academy before becoming police officers.

Rev. James Touchton of the Hancock Church of God and Chaplin for the Hancock Police Department gave a blessing over the two officers to end the swearing in.

Later in the meeting during the Police Commissioners/Police Department report, Officer Shawn Faith told town officials O’Brien and Walls would have to complete a minimum 240 FTO, or field-training officer, which is required under Maryland law.

Smith said it was nice to have two local guys want to be part of the police force.

Smith and Lanehart said they have known both O’Brien and Walls since they were young. Lanehart said O’Brien had been on his t-ball team.