Ciccarelli named Huntington’s next chief of police

HUNTINGTON – Joseph Ciccarelli has been named Huntington’s next chief of police, Mayor Steve Williams announced Monday, Sept. 29.


He will replace Jim Johnson, who has served as police chief since April of this year. Johnson became police chief after William “Skip” Holbrook accepted the chief’s position in Columbia, S.C. If Huntington City Council confirms Ciccarelli’s appointment, he will begin his duties with the Police Department on Oct. 31.


“Joe Ciccarelli understands our city, our opportunities and our challenges,” Williams said. He is equipped to move our Police Department forward immediately. His career path is familiar to me. He began his career here and advanced through the ranks to the highest levels of his given profession, all the while having an eye on coming home.


“He brings world- class credentials to a world-class department. Our citizens deserve nothing less.”


Ciccarelli said he is honored to have the opportunity to lead the department where he began his law enforcement career 36 years ago and looks forward to continuing the momentum achieved under the leadership of Johnson and Holbrook.


“I hope to translate the experience I’ve gained in various assignments throughout my career into positive results for the Police Department and the city,” he said. “The brave men and women of the Huntington Police Department deserve the best leadership possible and all my efforts will be directed toward seeing that they get that every day.”


Ciccarelli said he will focus on strengthening existing partnerships with other law enforcement and public safety agencies.


“I’m also eager to expand our community partnerships, because working closely with those who have a vested interest in a better Huntington is the key to the success of our mission,” he said. “There are hurdles to overcome, particularly with respect to the battle against illegal drugs. But by working together in a comprehensive fashion, I’m confident that we can make a difference and make Huntington a better place.”


Ciccarelli most recently was an investigator for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. He worked nearly 30 years for the FBI before retiring in January 2014.


He started his law enforcement career with the Huntington Police Department in 1978, serving as a police officer and detective before being hired by the FBI in 1984.


His FBI career began as a special agent in St. Louis, serving as an investigator for white-collar crimes, organized crime and labor racketeering cases. In 1987, he moved to Miami, where he served as a special agent and supervisory special agent in the Organized Crime/Drug Program. He conducted or supervised numerous large-scale, international drug investigations and was the division’s drug program coordinator for three years.


Ciccarelli came back to Huntington in 1998 to serve as a special agent and coordinator of the Huntington Violent Crime/Federal Drug Task Force. He later served two separate stints as the supervisory senior resident agent in Charleston, with oversight of FBI operations in the Southern District of West Virginia; four years as the senior resident agent in Huntington; and two more years as a special agent in Charleston, leading criminal investigations with a focus on public corruption and crimes against children.


Ciccarelli has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Marshall University. In addition to numerous awards and commendations from the FBI, he is a six-time recipient of the United States Attorney’s Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer’s Award as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Career Achievement Award.


As chief of police, Ciccarelli will oversee a department with a $13.6 million budget, 121 sworn officer positions and 15 civilian staff positions. His annual salary will be $79,616.


He will be formally introduced to the public during a ceremony at noon Tuesday, Sept. 30, in front of the Huntington Police Department, 675 10th St.


Upon handing the reigns of police chief over to Ciccarelli, Johnson will continue to serve a significant role within the Police Department that will be announced within the month, Williams said.


“Chief Johnson has been an invaluable resource to the citizens of Huntington. He has shown extraordinary leadership as chief of police and minimized uncertainty within the Police Department during this transition period,” Williams said. “He hasn’t just maintained the existing level of service provided by our Police Department. He’s turned it up a few notches. This City is indebted to Chief Johnson for his passion, unselfishness and leadership.”


Williams also thanked members of the citizen search committee for vetting all of the candidates who applied for the position and fulfilling the mayor’s request to provide him with qualified finalists.


“We have a great debt of gratitude that is owed to the members of the police chief search committee,” Williams said. “They were thorough and dedicated a great deal of valuable time out of their personal schedules to assist us in this process.”


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