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Fresh on the beat

Kingwood welcomes new police officer

KINGWOOD — Kingwood’s newest police officer said he put a lot of thought into joining the force.

“I thought about it for a long time. I have friends who are officers,” Officer Ben Mersing said. “I want to help the community, especially with getting drugs off the street.”

Mersing said he graduated from Kingwood High School and joined the Marines soon after. He said he is still in the reserves and is halfway through his  commitment, which lasts for three years and  two months.

Mersing will  attend the police academy in April and is  training under Officer Gina McNemar.

“I would like to get to a total of six officers,” Chief Doug Montague said. “Our goal is to build up and have a positive community attitude toward the department. It would be nice to be able to offer 24-hour service.”

He said having six officers would take up the slack when someone calls off due to illness or a family emergency. The city now has four officers, including Montague.

Montague, who joined the department after retiring from the Morgantown Police Department, said he appreciates the support his department receives from Kingwood City Council.

“Salaries have gone up and we have two new cruisers,” he said. “Anything within reason I have asked for, they have given me.”

Montague said the city  has a cruiser for each officer. He  would like to have at least one more as a back-up in case one breaks down.

“We were able to get one last year and one this year,” he said. “Maybe we can get another one next year.”

Between April and October, Montague said the department received more than 110  calls to 911, which included 12-15 felonies (some closed and some still active), two embezzlements, two fires and six child neglect calls.

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