Sistersville Patrolman Bryan Casto, of St. Marys, graduated from the W.Va. State Police Academy on Dec. 13. With his graduation, all Sistersville Police Department (SPD) officers are now certified. Chief of Police Ben Placer said that Casto is the first officer since 2010 to graduate from the academy while working for SPD.
"It's a difficult academy," said Chief Placer, stating that three SPD officers who attended in the last five years did not graduate. "It's a testimony to Bryan, who physically and mentally made it through. It's hard, but it assures you get a good officer when they're done."
Casto entered with a roster of 63, out of which 44 graduated. He described the first week there as the toughest hurdle, with the majority of those who left doing so within the first three weeks. He said the number of dropouts was low compared to past classes.
Patrolman Bryan Casto
"It's challenging," he said, offering advice for officers preparing to go through the academy. "The biggest thing is not to give up on it."
Because the training received at the W.Va. State Police Academy is recognized in different states, many officers have been certified there. Casto said that sharing the same training experience makes their police bond even greater.
Chief Placer explained that it is required by law to submit paperwork to the state when a new officer is hired. The officer then has 90 days to apply for the academy, which will provide notice before the training takes place.
He pointed out an adjustment period some officers undergo after returning from the academy. Because they train them to deal with sudden, life-threatening situations, he said it may take some time to learn to communicate with people on a normal basis after returning to work.
As well as his recent success at the academy, Casto also has a degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Crime Scene Investigation from West Virginia University Parkersburg. He said a college internship with the DNR confirmed his interest in law enforcement.
He explained why he finds the field interesting.
"You never know what to expect when you come to work," he said.
Casto, who has been working for SPD for about eight months, said that he was fortunate to obtain the position when he did.
"For someone wanting to get into law enforcement, don't give up," he said. "Keep trying. They're sought after jobs, and the competition can be pretty steep. I appreciate the City of Sistersville and Chief Placer for giving me the opportunity to work here and putting me through the academy."
Chief Placer said that he hopes Casto remains a part of SPD for some time.