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New chief adds changes, upgrades to department

January 16, 2007|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - You might notice something different with the Town of Bath police officers. There is a high shine on their shoes and the uniform is complete with knotted ties and state police-style hats.

It's a new look and one on which the new chief insists.

James Minton, the new Bath Police Chief, was to officially begin his job in January, but he started immediately after he was sworn in by Mayor Susan Webster in December, "on my own," he said.

"The police officers are a little snappier and wearing ties and Smokey hats, which gives them a sharper image," said Webster.

"It helps boost morale if you have a good strong image," she said. "It helps them do a difficult job."

Minton, whose last post was a deputy U.S. Marshal service supervisor, also developed a ranking system that had not been in place, and he wanted to redo the job descriptions for all ranks, he said.

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"With job descriptions, people know what is expected of them," he said.

He also promoted police officer Craig Pearrell to corporal. "He is well deserving of the promotion to corporal," Minton said.

The Bath Town Council approved the changes, he said.

No pay increase was given with the promotion, Minton said, and next year's budget must be approved by the town's finance committee.

Minton wants the police department to move forward in a positive direction, he said.

"We need to get back to community policing," which means more "foot beat patrols around town," he said.

"My 28 years of experience has taught me many things along the way," he said. "I love my job here, and I think I will settle in nicely."

"Minton is doing fine. There is a lot for him to learn, and he's a quick learner. We're glad to have him," Webster said.

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