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Huntington Chief of Police Ray Cornwell addresses the media at the Jean Dean Public Safety Building in Huntington in this May 26 file photo. Cornwell has announced plans to retire next month.

HUNTINGTON — Huntington Police Chief Ray Cornwell is set to retire July 2, the City of Huntington announced Tuesday.

Cornwell served in the police department for 25 years, a city press release said. He was named interim chief on Dec. 16, 2019, after former Police Chief Hank Dial became city manager. City Council unanimously approved Cornwell’s permanent appointment in April 2020.

Cornwell told The Herald-Dispatch on Tuesday afternoon that he always had planned to retire after 25 years of service.

“It has been a privilege to serve the citizens of Huntington alongside the men and women of the Huntington Police Department for the past 25 years, and I was honored that Mayor Williams and City Council gave me the opportunity to lead the department,” Cornwell said in the release. “Any success I have achieved in my career is owed to the efforts of all of our officers.”

Mayor Steve Williams will announce plans for an interim chief and permanent replacement in the near future, according to the press release. Williams added that Cornwell’s “breadth of experience and leadership will be missed” and congratulated the chief for his service and wished him well in retirement.

“Chief Cornwell led the Police Department through the COVID-19 pandemic, and he was the architect of HPD’s adjustment to the new 12-hour work shifts, which allowed the Police Department to increase the number of officers patrolling our neighborhoods,” Williams said in the release. “Furthermore, property crimes have fallen 8% and violent crimes have decreased 5.6% under his watch.”

Cornwell joined HPD as a probationary officer in 1996. He then became a patrol officer before being promoted to corporal in 1998 and oversaw training. Throughout his time with the department, Cornwell worked in the Records and Administrative Bureaus, was a midnight shift watch commander, coordinated the Office of Professional Standards and was captain of the Patrol Bureau.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to work with Chief Cornwell for the past 25 years,” Dial said in the press release. “During his tenure, he continued to advance the department’s long history of excellence.”

McKenna Horsley is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @Mckennahorsley.

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