For four Culpeper Police Department officers, a new journey began last week.
During the CPD’s promotion ceremony, Lonnie Myers was promoted to Lieutenant, Brittany Ann Jenkins became a sergeant and David Cole and Michael Eric Grant were promoted to Master Police Officer.
Judge Dale Durrer spoke to the four officers, and the assembled guests, to talk about the responsibility of being promoted and the trust that shows the department has in the four individuals.
“Promotion ceremonies are a special occasion,” Durrer said. “It’s also important to take note that you’re being promoted for what the leaders of the Culpeper Police Department think you can accomplish. Your journey really brings today. You’ve earned a promotion with a lot of sweat equity, but the idea now is to keep after it day after day.”
Durrer talked about an officer’s character, and how that translates to trust with the community. He quoted former UCLA head basketball coach John Wooten, in an effort to show the gravity of one’s character.
“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching,” Durrer said. “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there. Decisions you make everyday is going to impact a human being in some way, and it’s going to have to do with adhering to the rule of law and doing what is right.”
He said the promoted officers won’t have anyone watching over them, but they need to act as if there were.
“Once you lose your character, it’s very difficult to get it back,” Durrer said.
He also said that the officers’ goals should be to make the police department, and the community by extension, a better place – leaving it in a better position than how they found it.
“Exceed the expectations exponentially, which each of you has,” Durrer said.
Culpeper Police Department Chief Chris Jenkins congratulated the four, and reminded them that have requested this challenge.
“My congratulations each of you, you’ve worked extremely hard,” Chief Jenkins said.
For Jenkins, who last year was just promoted Master Police Officer, the promotion meant another step closer to her ultimate goal.
“For me it’s just being a mentor, it kind of came with being a mentor,” Jenkins said. “It wasn’t something I’m seeking out, it was just something that happened.”
Jenkins, who has worked for Culpeper PD since 2009, previously was a detective in the child crimes unit and said that while the stress of going out on the road on night patrol was something that bothered her, it was less stressful than her last position.
“Before going out on the road for the first night, it was extremely nerve wracking,” Jenkins said. “But it’s like riding a bike, you go back out and it comes so natural again it’s not daunting anymore.”
Master Police Officer Cole started with the police department in 2007 and became a K-9 officer in 2015, being partnered with Jackson. In February, he earned the Life Saver award for successfully performing CPR on an infant. His promotion is another step in his goal to becoming a supervisor, but he hopes he has a few more years working as a K-9 officer to help clean up the drug issue Culpeper is facing.
“I enjoy working with the dogs,” Cole said. “I just like working in the narcotic world and cleaning up the streets in the town of Culpeper. We do have an issue and we’re working hard with the taskforce people to make it better.”
Master Police Officer Eric Michael Grant is following in the footsteps of his father, fellow Master Police Officer Mike Grant.
A 2006 graduate of Culpeper County High School, the younger Grant has been with the force since 2007. He has steadily moved up the ranks, garnering multiple awards. His promotion has been gratifying, he said.
“It shows they trust me with some things and I just enjoy it,” Grant said.“This is home for me. I’m born and raised here, there’s no place I’d rather be.”
A farmer in his downtown, he and his wife Audrey operate a small farm with multiple hogs, 11 goats and cows.
Lt. Myers started with Culpeper in 2003 and has served as a patrol sergeant and in the criminal investigations unit. He will now oversee 9 officers in Platoon B.
“I think with any new position, you have things you want to change, I just want to see how I can help out in the position I’ve been reassigned to,” Myers said.
He is the team leaders for the Accident Reconstruction Team and is a TASER instructor for the department.