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Chief introduces new Rincon Police Department officers
New Rincon Police Department officers
Officers Darrien Vance, Zachary Brooks (from left), Justin Hynko and Jessica Rahn, and Cpl. John Etzle - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

RINCON — During the March 28 Rincon City Council meeting, Chief Jonathan Murrell presented five new members of the Rincon Police Department.

In some cases, it was more of a reunion than an introduction. It’s almost as if one of them — Darrien Vance — never left.

“We’re happy to have him back,” Murrell told the council.

Vance left the Rincon Police Department in 2021 shortly after being named its 2020 officer of the year. He was hired straight out of the police academy in 2019.

“I told him when he submitted his resignation, ‘I’ll give you six months. You’ll be back,’ I was wrong. It was three ...,” Murrell said in lighthearted fashion.

Vance spent his brief time away working from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force.

Councilman Levi Scott also jabbed good-naturedly at Vance, who was late for the introduction because he was out on a call.

“He’s got three months experience that he brings back,” Scott said.

The entire council joined Scott in expressing satisfaction about Vance’s return.

“That says a lot about you,” Mayor Ken Lee told Vance while supporting Murrell’s desire to rehire him.

“Thank you,” Vance said. “I appreciate the opportunity.”

At the start of the meeting, Murrell introduced Officers Zachary Brooks, Justin Hynko and Jessica Rahn, and Cpl. John Etzke.

Brooks, who started March 3, spent two years experience with the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office. 

“He fits in real well and is an asset to the department,” Murrell said.

Hynko is also a former Effingham County Sheriff’s Office employee. He spent seven years in that agency before starting in Rincon seven months ago.

“I’m a little a little bit late getting him in (for an introduction) but we are happy to have him, too,” Murrell said.

Rahn is a former Georgia Southern Office of Public Safety. She served two years there and had a sting in the Effingham County District Attorney’s Office.

“She has a strong drive for community outreach type of things so we are happy to have her,” Murrell said. “She is another great fit.”

Like Vance, Etzle is a former Rincon Police Department officer. He spent three years in Rincon before serving four years with the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office and two decades in the Port Wentworth Police Department.

“He’s a real asset and brings a lot of knowledge and experience to the table,” Murrell said.

City Manager John Klimm expressed confidence that the police department’s lone remaining vacancy will be filled in short order despite the shrinking number of available qualified officers.

“We are in a very different position than other cities and I really think the management of our police department deserves the credit,” Klimm said.