ASHLAND The Ashland City Commission Thursday recognized the newest additions to the city’s fire and police departments.
The city recognized seven new hires in the Fire Department and two at the Police Department. Mayor Matt Perkins told the newest additions to the city’s emergency services that the commission recognizes their dedication and sacrifice to ensure the safety of the community.
“We don’t only see you as firefighters and police officers, we see you as heroes,” Perkins said. “We know that when you put on that uniform, you are representing the best of this city’s values. You are here to help those in need. We thank you for that.”
Assistant Fire Chief Steve Alley said the recruits recognized were from classes from the 2019, 2020 and 2021 recruiting pool.
Two of the new recruits — Joe Laber and Kenton Baker — served at other fire departments prior to getting hired in at AFD. While each man took a hiatus before rejoining the fire service, Alley said a little bit of training helped get them back up to speed.
The seven additions to the fire service will bring the city’s firefighting force to full capacity. Allen said another recruit is still in training.
On the police side, Chief Todd Kelley said the two new officers — Heath Hensley and Corey Bradley — came from other departments with prior experience. Hensley has two years of law enforcement experience while Bradley has five.
Both men should be on the road in a month, Kelley said. While both men are field training, the advantage of hiring a seasoned officer means that training window is shorter than that of a completely new officer who has to attend a 20-week academy.
“It reduces the time away from us and gets them out there on the streets sooner,” Kelley said. “We still have them undergo field training so they can get used to our processes and standards.”
There are still four more slots that need filled to get the Ashland Police Department up to full strength. He said they are still vetting and accepting applications for the positions.
Here are the newest hires protecting the city where coal meets iron:
Kenton Baker, Gary Selby, James Litteral, J.C. Sturgill, Joe Laber, Zach Moore and Cody Clark
Heath Hensley and Corey Bradley
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