CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Interim Chief Scott Dempsey officially takes up the role as the City of Charleston’s newest Chief of Police.

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin gathered members of the Charleston Police Department, city council members, and the community to announce the new police chief at city hall Friday. Members from multiple law enforcement agencies from across the state were also in attendance during Friday’s announcement in support of Dempsey getting appointed to the esteemed position.

“I am so proud to stand beside today and give the oath of office to a person who I know not only has my respect, my trust, but the community’s respect and trust, our new Chief of Police, Scott Dempsey,” Mayor Goodwin announced Friday.

Dempsey has served on the Charleston police force for 23 years. He previously served as Deputy Chief of Police, the Warrants Division Commander, Housing Liaison Officer, Information Services Commander, Chief Firearms Instructor, Detective in the Criminal Investigation Division, among other roles.

Most recently, Dempsey served as the Interim Chief of Police since mid-August after the previous police chief Tyke Hunt resigned due to allegations of misconduct.

Dempsey said he feels like the move from interim to permanent chief has been effortless.

Scott Dempsey

“It was a very easy transition, I just filled right into the blank, and now that it’s official I think our officers can finally breath a little and get ready to start rolling up their sleeves and get to work,” said Dempsey.

It was also announced Friday that Dempsey appointed 18 year veteran of the force, Jason Webb as Deputy Chief of Police for the Charleston Police Department.

Webb has mostly recently served as Commander MDENT and SWAT, along with previously serving as Public Services Division Commander, Patrol District Supervisor, Criminal Investigative Division Detective within the Accident Investigation Bureau, and as a Patrol Officer.

He said he had reached a point in his career where he was wrestling with what he wanted to do moving forward, whether that be stepping into a leadership role on the force or even debating the idea of going into retirement, but he said Dempsey helped him believe that a leadership position was where he needed to be right now.

“For him to give me this opportunity kind of reinforced that belief that I want to step into a leadership role and just continue on with my law enforcement career, so it feels pretty amazing,” said Webb.

Goodwin said a total of 27 candidates applied for the role of police chief between Dec. 15 to Jan. 15. She said after receiving 8 internal and 19 external applications, with some being from across the country, she whittled it down to 10 interviews.

Goodwin said one particular question she asked all of the interviewing officers was if they aren’t selected to be the new Chief of Police, who do they believe should be appointed the role, and she said nearly all of them said the same name– Scott Dempsey.

“There’s a reason why they said that, somebody who has integrity, who has trust, who has respect of the Charleston Police Department and this entire community,” she said.

Goodwin said as it’s the sole responsibility of the mayor to select the Chief of Police, and it being a position that has to be upheld with much accountability and integrity, she said she felt it was necessary to take her time with her decision and make the selection with as much careful consideration as possible. She said she feels good about her decision.

Amy Goodwin

“Like I said, this wasn’t about just one person, one position, this was about the future of the entire Charleston Police Department, and I feel really confident in the decision today,” Goodwin said.

Dempsey said he has always felt like he has had his fellow officers’ support, but Friday that was re-emphasized. Now, he said he’s ready to get to work and not let them down.

“I’m very humbled, I’m very proud, I’ve always been a very personal kind of guy with the officers, I love to get to know them personally, so now that I’m officially in this position now I think we can all take a breath and get ready to move forward,” he said.

And, he said he and Deputy Webb have many newly-formed plans in store for moving the department forward.

One major area of focus he said is recruitment of new officers as recruiting numbers are currently at an all-time low across the state and around the country.

He said their specific focus is showing potential new officers how great it is serving this particular community.

“They have to see the Chief’s office and we have to be able to attract more young men and women to this profession, this is a great profession, it always has been, we have so much support here in the City of Charleston, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to come here and be a police officer,” he said.

He said they plan to hit the ground running with recruiting fairs and events, and enhancing social media engagement in order to attract more officers.

Dempsey said another area of focus is to increase officer training. He said while Charleston Police Department officers are some of the highest trained officers in the state, they want to expand that training so they can be the best they could ever be.

“We want to re-imagine that and just have them continually trained all year instead of just certain parts of the year, because, a highly-trained officer is an effective officer, and that’s what helps build the trust with the community, and that’s where it starts is training,” said Dempsey.

He has been recognized by several Federal Law Enforcement Agencies for his work with CPD, and working alongside state and federal officers for many successful prosecutions.

Dempsey also serves as the current Vice President of the West Virginia Chiefs of Police Association.