WHEELING - After a 21-year law enforcement career in Virginia, Moundsville native Robert "Shawn" Schwertfeger is returning to the Ohio Valley to become the Friendly City's top cop.
City Manager Robert Herron announced this morning he has hired Schwertfeger to succeed former Police Chief Robert Matheny, who departed in March to take a job with the National White Collar Crime Center in Fairmont, W.Va.
Herron said he chose Schwertfeger from a slate of nine "excellent" candidates, both internal and external, who went through the assessment process. He said Schwertfeger's command experience and approach to law enforcement made him stand out.
Robert 'Shawn' Schwertfeger addresses city officials and the media following his announcement as Wheeling's next police chief. The Moundsville native will officially begin his duties June 4.
Photo by Ian Hicks
Schwertfeger, a John Marshall High School and West Liberty University graduate, said he's been looking for an opportunity to return to the area, and taking this job gave him the chance to do that while also fulfilling one of his career goals. He pledged to be accessible and visible to the public and said he will emphasize preparedness, professionalism and accountability as the city's new police chief.
Schwertfeger began his law enforcement career in 1991 with the Albemarle County Police Department Charlottesville, Virginia. He most recently served as captain of the ACPD Operations Bureau, which consists of four divisions and approximately 100 personnel. Additionally, he held a command position with the ACPD for eight years, serving as lieutenant for three separate divisions.
Schwertfeger holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from WLU, and is also a 2009 graduate of the FBI National Academy.
June 4 will be Schwertfeger's first official day on the job, Herron said. Schwertfeger and his family will move to Ohio County within six months of his appointment, per city policy.
He said he's excited to get started and noted he's a "quick study."
Herron also thanked Deputy Police Chief Mike Vankirk for his service as interim chief since Matheny's departure, a role he previously served during the transition from former Police Chief Kevin Gessler to Matheny.
"We have an excellent police department ... and I'm proud of our department and our leadership and how they've handled this transition," said Herron.