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Howell is LInden’s newest officer

LINDEN – The Linden Police Department filled its latest vacancy with a familiar face, hiring Kendrick Howell, the pastor of New Hope No. 1 Baptist Church of Jefferson, as its newest police officer.

Howell, a 32-year-old Linden native, said he is excited about the opportunity to continue serving others in a new capacity.

“It’s a big opportunity. It gives me a chance to really, really get more involved with the community and with people,” Howell said. “I’m very excited about it.”

Linden Police Department chief Scott McClure hopes Howell’s familiarity with the town and its people coupled with his mentoring ability will help him be an effective member of the LPD.

“I took several things into consideration when I hired him. His religious background is great. Maybe he can bring some different things to the table,” McClure said. “He already knows the town. He is from here. Most of the people we have encountered, they know him and they come to him and speak.”

McClure pointed out that Howell’s personal experiences more than made up for his inexperience in law enforcement, citing his belief that it is easier to teach an individual how to police than it is to teach an experienced officer a new area and environment.

“You spend an extra three to four months, probably, just on training with the town and the locations, even if you bring in a certified officer who is green to the area,” McClure said.

Howell, who is tentatively set to begin his 13-week course at the police academy Sept. 19, brings the LPD close to full force.

“I’m actually still one short, but the mayor has allowed me to hire a part time officer to help me pick up some slack with vacations and such and has also allowed me to hire a part time animal control officer that will be working directly under the police department.”