Lynchburg Police Department swears in eight new officers; 16 slots still open

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 4:28 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Cheianne Kirkland is keeping it in the family.

“This is my grandma’s class picture from her academy. She was Class 1 with the Central Virginia Justice Academy, my dad was Class 53 and I’m Class 97,” said Kirkland.

Kirkland was one of eight officers who took the oath Thursday and joined the Lynchburg Police Department.

Kirkland was in corrections before she decided to head to LPD. She says her family connection was a big deal.

“My grandma was with Lynchburg Police Department as well, so to be able to follow in her footsteps at the same department is huge for me,” said Kirkland.

It’s not just huge for her, but huge for this department.

Police Chief Ryan Zuidema says the joining of these eight comes at a critical time - a time when the department still has 16 officer slots to fill.

“Every officer, every single one of them will make an impact in the community once we get them trained up with their field training officers, get out there, kind of a force multiplier in the community to make sure we’re able to get out there and engage,” said Zuidema.

With the swearing in of herself and fellow officers, Kirkland is ready to engage in the community.

She says she wants to change the narrative some may believe.

“I’d like to change the negative outlook on law enforcement. I wanna be a positive influence when I roll up on scene. I want people to be like, oh awesome, Officer Kirkland is here... I wanna be someone the community looks forward to seeing even when things aren’t great,” said Kirkland.

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