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Officer moving on after 28 years

Ernie Stoner has filled various positions during his tenure with the Hagerstown Police Department, and is also a firearms and CP

Ernie Stoner has filled various positions during his tenure with the Hagerstown Police Department, and is also a firearms and CP

July 01, 2002|by EDWARD MARSHALL

edwardm@herald-mail.com

After 28 years of service with the Hagerstown Police Department, Officer Ernie Stoner will soon be moving on to other things.

Married and a father of two, Stoner will officially retire this month.

Stoner, who will welcome his first grandchild in December, said that some things will be difficult for him to leave behind.

"It's been a remarkable education, stuff you would never learn at any other job," said Stoner, 51. "By and large I've enjoyed it. I'll miss it. I'll miss the people I work with."

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During his career, Stoner spent eight years with the department's crime lab and 15 years as a plainclothes officer, and is currently a patrol officer. Stoner was also part of the detective unit.

"I've been fortunate enough to experience many different aspects of police work. It's nice to be able to have a change once in a while," Stoner said.

In addition to his regular duties, Stoner is also a firearms and CPR instructor. He has been teaching CPR to officers for almost 21 years.

"He's helped train at least 1,000 people. He's one of the people that goes above and beyond what you ask of him," Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said.

Stoner said he came to the profession nearly three decades ago for the practical reasons of job security, good benefits and a fair salary. He knew he would be expected to give something in return.

"A supervisor once told me that we don't get paid for what we do - we get paid for what we might have to do. I'll never forget that," Stoner said.

Even with the gun, the badge and the support of his fellow officers, Stoner said parts of his job give him butterflies every so often.

"I've been scared many times," Stoner said. "It can be an adrenaline rush, like one time when a man with a gun called the station at 3 a.m. or when the silent alarms go off in the middle of the afternoon. You just try to respond as best you can and hopefully if you do, you'll be safe."

Even though the most enjoyable moments of Stoner's career have outweighed the negatives, there are some aspects that Stoner won't miss. Stoner remembers the time he had to tell a couple that their child had died of a fatal illness.

"I think I cried more than the parents did," Stoner said. "I think they had been expecting it to happen. It was the most horrible thing I ever had to do."

Police often see people at their worst.

"You never get used to it, there are always people who don't like you no matter what," Stoner said. "You get called everything. It can be funny sometimes. You have to have a sense of humor. You have to be able to laugh at it. You can't just bottle it up."

With his retirement, Stoner wonders how his law enforcement career will be remembered by others.

"I hope they remember that I was fair, I had a sense of humor and that I was honest," Stoner said.

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