Woodstock hires two new police officers

Woodstock has hired two new police officers.

Woodstock police Chief Eric Reiley said Chase Kerns and Arianna Smootz are in training at the Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Academy, commonly known as the police academy.

“They are enjoying it. They are learning every day,” Reiley said.

Upon successful completion of training, the two will graduate as certified officers on Nov. 9. They will then start at the Woodstock Police Department, spending the first six to eight weeks with an experienced officer in what is called field training.

“They will have to show them they can apply what they learned in the real world,” Reiley said.

The starting yearly pay for an uncertified officer is $36,022. Once they are certified, yearly pay is $43,717, commensurate with qualifications including degrees and certifications, said Mandy Belyea, deputy town manager.

There are 10 officers in the department, so with the addition of the two new positions, the department will have 12 officers assigned to primary patrol calls, two of which are supervisors.

“I believe this is the first time in over 10 years the department has added any positions,” Reiley said.

They will serve Woodstock’s resident population, which is just over 5,200.

Kerns worked for the Woodstock Public Works Department as part of the street and maintenance crew but always had an interest in law enforcement, Reiley said.

Smootz just earned her associate’s degree at Lord Fairfax Community College.

“A lot of her family is in emergency services,” Reiley said.

Smootz will be the only female officer on the force once she joins. She is, however, not the first woman to be a Woodstock police officer.

Both of the new recruits grew up in Shenandoah County and know the community. Kerns is from Woodstock and Smootz is from Mount Jackson, Reiley said.

“They both understood the role we want. We want engagement. We are part of the community,” Reiley said.

They both understood the need to show empathy with the public, as well as the ability to communicate with the public, he said.