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The original item was published from 12/10/2021 12:22:42 PM to 12/25/2021 12:00:04 AM.

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Purcellville News Flash

Posted on: December 10, 2021

[ARCHIVED] News Release- Purcellville Police Announce Swearing-In, Promotions & Awards

NEWS RELEASE   Contact:  Chief Cynthia McAlister

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                  




PURCELLVILLE, Va., December 10, 2021 — On Thursday, December 9th, the Purcellville Police Department held a swearing in ceremony for their newest officer, as well as an award and promotional ceremony to recognize officers’ achievements throughout 2021, which had not been publicly recognized by the Department due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The ceremony took place at the Town Hall Council Chambers and was attended by members of the Purcellville Police Department, Town staff, as well as Blue Ridge District Supervisor, Tony Buffington and the Honorable Clerk of Loudoun Circuit Court, Mr. Gary Clemens. 


Purcellville Police Department’s swearing-in and pinning of their newest officer was for Abigail St. Onge, a new Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy (NVCJTA) graduate.  Officer Austin Cilento was also recognized for joining the Department as a newly hired, pre-certified law enforcement lateral transfer.


Officer Abigail St. Onge graduated from the 145th Session of the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy on Friday, December 10th. The challenging six month long academy program for police officers and sheriff deputies from the Northern Virginia area covered numerous law enforcement principals and procedures, including criminal investigation, legal, patrol, and practical skills. Major components of the performance-based training include first-aid, CPR, crisis intervention, control tactics, firearms training, and driver training. Officer St. Onge will undergo an additional three months of field training with the Purcellville Police Department before she will be released as a solo patrol officer. Officer St. Onge is also a recent graduate from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Minor in Criminal Justice, making the Dean’s List during her senior year. 


Officer Austin Cilento was recently hired as a pre-certified lateral transfer, undertaking a condensed field training program to learn the policies and procedures of the Purcellville Police Department, as well as familiarize himself with the Town of Purcellville.  Officer Cilento recently successfully completed six weeks of field training before being released as a solo patrol officer.  Officer Cilento started his career as a dispatcher with the Chesapeake Police Department. Shortly after, he entered the Chesapeake Criminal Justice Training Academy and became a state certified police officer.   After a few years of patrol, he moved to this area and started with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, before transferring to Purcellville.



Thursday evening’s accolades also included the recognition of a new, recent promotion for Corporal Adam Barnhart, as well as several previous promotions and awards from 2021.  Officer Adam Barnhart was recognized for successfully completing the Department’s promotional process and was promoted to the rank of Corporal. Corporal Barnhart first joined the Purcellville Police Department in 2014. Corporal Barnhart is a certified Field Training Officer, as well as the Department’s only Certified Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) Officer, providing both residents and businesses with recommendations for improved safety and crime prevention based on the CPTED principals. 


In addition, Sergeant Eric Bridge and Sergeant David Camp were also recognized for their respective promotions from January 2021 and February 2021. Sergeant Bridge joined the Purcellville Police Department in 2016 after serving nearly 30 years with the Fairfax County Police Department. In 2019, Sergeant Bridge was selected by his peers to receive the prestigious Officer of the Year Award, which Sergeant David Camp also won for 2021. Sergeant Camp came to the Purcellville Police Department with ten years of law enforcement experience in North Carolina, and graduated from the NVCJTA in 2018. Sergeant Bridge and Sergeant Camp have continued to display immense professionalism and dedication to their fellow officers, the Department and the community while in a leadership role. 


Several Purcellville Police Department 2021 awardees were also recognized publicly at the ceremony on Thursday, December 9th.   Sergeant David Camp and Officer Lauren Ritter were acknowledged for their considerable contributions to the Purcellville Police Department by receiving Officer of the Year awards, which is a peer selected award. Sergeant Camp and Officer Ritter are well known for their wonderful community engagement and outreach, as well as their positive attitudes, high level of service, and commitment to assisting both their fellow officers as well as community members. In addition, Sergeant Robert Wagner was commended for his NAM Knights of America Motorcycle Club Award previously awarded in August 2021 for his outstanding community service.   


This year’s Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Valor Award winners were also announced to include Corporal Paul Kakol for a Lifesaving Award, Officer Alexander Burkett for a Bronze Medal of Valor, and Officer Raymond Starkey for a Certificate of Valor. Officer Alexander Burkett was also presented with the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Law Enforcement Officer Award for the highest number of DUI arrests for 2020-2021 for the Department. 


Please join the Purcellville Police Department in welcoming our newest officers, recognizing those promoted to leadership positions, and congratulating our 2021 award winners.  






The Town of Purcellville, Virginia

“Purcellville-your small Town, where history and progress intersect and people prosper,” is an award-winning town of over 10,000 residents located in Loudoun County, approximately 50 miles west of Washington, DC. Having received the prestigious Siemens Sustainability Award for Small Communities, Purcellville continues to be honored for its green initiatives with most recently being the Tree City USA recipient for the 12th year. The Town was reaffirmed as a AAA rated community by S&P Global Ratings, the highest credit rating possible, and is recognized as one of the safest towns in Virginia. Once a stop along the W&OD rail line, which has been converted to a multi-use trail from Alexandria, VA to Purcellville, the Town has maintained its historic old-town feel through the restoration and maintenance of its many downtown structures, reflecting the Victorian architecture popular during the early 1900s. Today, Purcellville is the economic hub of western Loudoun County and a popular weekend destination for antiquing, equestrian activities, farmer’s markets, wineries, breweries, distilleries and restaurants. More info at



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