Three Culpeper Town Police officers were honored with promotions May 18.
Lt. Kevin Tooley, Sgt. Richard McKnight and Master Police Officer John Bahl were recognized for their years of service and dedication to helping the Culpeper community.
The Honorable Dale Durrer, Culpeper General District Court Judge, said the three officers have earned the respect of their peers and community.
Durrer, who will soon become judge of the 16th District Circuit Court, told the officers receiving the promotion that it is a testament to their moral obligation to the community.
“It’s your moral responsibility to build on what you’ve accomplished,” Durrer said.
He recounted the story of Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor who wrote the book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl spent three years in a concentration camp and when he entered he had the manuscript for his book destroyed. He rewrote the manuscript in his head and used observations from his time in the camp to add to it.
Durrer said that in today’s society, the desire is to be happy but the purpose of our life – according to Frankl – is to give it meaning.
“The primary drive in this community is to give meaning to what you do,” Durrer told the three officers up for promotion.
He said that Frankl said the secret to success was meaning, humility and love.
“We live in pessimistic times,” Durrer said. “You have been placed where you are for a reason, to serve this community and make it better.”
He advised the officers to “find your why?” in what you’re going to do when it comes to serving the community, “it will get you through trying times,” he said.
“Once you find your purpose, once you find your meaning, you’re going to succeed,” Durrer said.
Following Durrer’s speech, Culpeper Town Manager Chris Hively and Mayor Mike Olinger praised the group for their work in making Culpeper a better place to live.
“I think this is the finest police force I’ve seen in the state of Virginia,” Olinger said.
Tooley, a 1990 Culpeper County High School graduate, joined the Culpeper Police Department in 1997. He left the department in 2006 to serve as a police instructor in Iraq but returned to the department in 2007. He has worked in the patrol operations and in the criminal investigations division. He is now a lieutenant in operations. He is a certified general instructor, field training officer, member of the accident reconstruction team and is a certified instructor for Taser, M-4 and has served on the joint Emergency Response Team. He has a son, Benjamin.
Richard McKnight joined the CPD in 2006, after graduating from Frostburg State University and NOVA, obtaining a degree in criminal justice while playing football. He has served as a patrol officer, a field training officer, a member of the street crimes unit and as a member of the accident reconstruction team. He has served as a member of the Blue Ridge Narcotic and Gang Task Force and was promoted to sergeant and reassigned to the operations division, Platoon A night shift. He is married to Sarah and has a daughter Harley.
Bahl started his career in law enforcement in 2007 with the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office and joined the CPD in 2012. He served on the joint emergency response team and later became a field training officer. He received three life saving awards in 2017 and 2018. He currently works on night shift and has three children, Jackson, Johnny and Caitlyn.