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New police chief sworn in

Morgantown Police Chief Eric Powell isn’t big on pomp and circumstance, he told the crowd Wednesday morning after taking the oath of his new position.

“I guess this is kind of a big deal,” he said. “I understand the importance of it.”

Powell said he understands ceremonies like his swearing in are important — it was something he learned from his predecessor Ed Preston. He learned something important from each chief that came before him — Preston, Bob Lucci, who hired him, and Phil Scott, currently the interim chief of University Police Department.

“Well, he was a great detective,” Scott said of a young Powell. “When I first met him, he worked for me on shift, I was a sergeant and he worked for me on shift. Then he worked for me in detectives. So, I’ve seen his career progress. He’s very methodical. Always said he was pretty laid back and calm and that’s a good trait to have in police work today.”

Scott was one of many who gathered at the Ruby Amphitheater at the Hazel Ruby McQuain Park to celebrate Powell. Representatives from other law enforcement agencies, the Morgantown Fire Department, Powell’s own officers, and his family, were all in attendance.

“Fun is the best word,” Jill Powell said to describe their 24 years of marriage. She said the past year has been “somewhat stressful” but she’s relieved the “world’s longest job interview,” referring to Powell’s time as interim chief, is over.

“And he’s worked hard for this. He went to the FBI Academy; he went and pursued his master’s to gear him for this position,” she said. Powell’s two son’s Hazen, 21, and Manning, 19, also were on stage with him.

After taking his oath, in which he swore to protect people, the community and lead the department to the best of his ability, Powell expressed how blessed he was for the people in his life and the kind comments he’s received in the past week — becoming emotional and taking a moment to compose himself.

He pledged to protect Morgantown, do the best to make his officers proud of their uniform, and to help them however he can. He spoke about his love for the city where he’s lived his entire life, saying it’s a special place despite its problems.

Finally, he thanked his family, his mom, and the former chiefs who helped bring him to this point.

“I didn’t want this to be long-winded, this emotional, maybe I’m getting old,” he said at the end of his speech.

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