Brookneal man joins police department

Altavista Police Department welcomes new recruits Cory Earhart of Brookneal(left) and Chelsea Pugh (right). The two will be attending police academy in Lynchburg for the next six months, beginning today.

Two rookies have joined the Altavista Police Department and are setting out for Police Academy in Lynchburg beginning July 1. Cory Earhart and Chelsea Pugh are the newest members of the APD.

They joined APD officers on a ride-along on Friday. For the next six months, they will be attending the academy in preparation for assuming their duties with the department.

Earhart is a Campbell County native with roots in the law enforcement community. He grew up in Brookneal, graduated from William Campbell Combined School in 2012, and earned a criminal justice degree from Central Virginia Community College in 2014. He subsequently spent four years in the U.S. Army.

Altavista and its police department are not new for Earheart. “I have some history with the department. My dad, Scott Earhart worked here in the police department in the past,” he commented. The elder Earhart has also served in the Brookneal Police Department and currently serves as a deputy in the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department.

Pugh, a native of Nokesville, VA (near Manassas) grew up in Northern Virginia and came to this part of Central Virginia to attend Liberty University. She graduated with a degree in criminal justice (Class of 2017). “I fell in love with the area and wanted to make it my home. And I wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement,” she explained.

Altavista was not unfamiliar to Pugh, either. “I live up the road in Rustburg. I come down here to shop. Altavista is a unique town, and the Chief [Tommy Merricks] is an awesome guy,” she remarked.

Pugh said that she is most looking forward to “getting to know the people of this area better and helping them out whenever they need it.”

Earhart observed, “I think there’s no better time to join the police, even with everything going on. It has its dangers, but people are retiring, so it’s a great time. Both of us see it as a calling.”