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Newly sworn-in officers pose for a photo with other Hickory Police Department staff.

HICKORY — A Rutherford College man was one of eight people sworn in as police officers in Hickory on Friday.

Family and friends attended the formal swearing-in of the new officers to the Hickory Police Department.

Richard L. Bortnick, a native of Rutherford College, and graduate of Appalachian State University, was hired by Hickory Police Department as a first-time law enforcement officer. Bortnick attended basic law enforcement training at Catawba Valley Community College.

Kelsy O. Hays is a graduate of Newton-Conover High School and native of Newton. Hays was hired by HPD and attended training at Western Piedmont Community College.

Alex S. Leatherman, a native of Hickory, and graduate of Appalachian State University. He trained at Western Piedmont Community College after being hired by Hickory Police Department.

Mason G. McGuire, completed training at Catawba Valley Community College before being hired by HPD. McGuire is a native of Caldwell County and graduate of Hibriten High School.

Bryan M. Raynes, a graduate of Central Piedmont Community College, was hired by HPD and attended training at Western Piedmont Community College. Raynes was previously employed as a special education high school teacher. Raynes is a native of Columbus, Ohio.

Hunter J. Thompson, a graduate of Bunker Hill H.S., completed training at Catawba Valley Community College and was subsequently hired by HPD. Thompson is a native of Catawba County.

Jacob D. Watson, who was previously employed by NCDPS Caldwell Correctional Facility, was hired by HPD and trained at Western Piedmont Community College. Watson is a graduate of Fred T. Foard High School and native of Catawba County.

“I am excited that these new officers have accepted the call for a challenging, yet rewarding career. They have all shown that they will fit in well with our philosophy of community policing,” said Chief Thurman Whisnant.

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