MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) UPDATED STORY
Eddie Cassady began his role as Martinsville's Police Chief Monday.
He's no stranger to the department. His whole law enforcement career has been in Martinsville.
Cassady has been there since 1985, when he was just 21 years old.
He's worked his way up. From a patrol officer, to corporal, to lieutenant, to interim and deputy chief and now he holds the highest rank.
Cassady says he's made a lot of relationships with the community over the years and with the focus on community policing, that's not going to change.
"One of my most important goals is to keep going and keep building on the relationships we've already built on. Our community support is outstanding and we don't want to do anything to discourage that," says Cassady.
The city chose to hire within when Chief Sean Dunn announced his departure to Williamsburg.
"He's very familiar with the different levels of operations: the shift work, the investigative elements of the department, the cooperative efforts that have to occur with the city and other outside agencies depending on the particular situation," says Martinsville City Manager, Leon Towarnicki.
Cassady says he hopes that other officers see how he worked his way up and they realize it is possible.
He wants them to continue furthering their education, just like he did.
"When I came to work I had one year of college, I went back to school and finally finished up with my Master's degree in sociology with emphasis on criminal justice from Longwood University," says Chief Cassady.
He says it's much different now than it was in 1985.
"Law enforcement is an ever-changing career. You never know everything about it and it just keeps growing and that's what makes this profession so interesting," he adds.
Along with continuing the efforts to reduce crime in the city, Chief Cassady also says another big goal of his is to become a certified crime prevention community.
He says only 12 communities in the state have that designation and he hopes to have it by the end of the year.
A veteran officer has been tapped to lead the Martinsville Police Department.
Eddie Cassidy will take over the role of police chief on Monday.
Cassidy has worked for the Martinsville Police Department since 1985 and most recently served as deputy police chief.
Cassidy will replace Sean Dunn, who has served as Martinsville's police chief since 2014. Dunn was recently hired to lead a police force in Williamsburg.