Associated Press Published

Meeting will Focus on W.Va. State Police Detachment Closure


Officials are holding a public meeting next week to discuss concerns surrounding the planned closing of the West Virginia State Police’s Elizabeth detachment.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the Wirt County Courthouse, the News and Sentinel of Parkersburg reported.

The agency announced Tuesday that the detachments in Elizabeth, Grantsville and Hundred will all be closing, effective Jan. 1. The Elizabeth post will be covered by the one in Parkersburg.

“We want to be able to get everyone in the same room to see if we can do anything to stop this,” Wirt County Commissioner Robert Lowe said.

Superintendent Col. Jay Smithers said it’s not economically feasible to keep a detachment in each community.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin last week ordered state agencies to cut spending by 2 percent in order to save $59.8 million and help make up for the general revenue fund falling behind by $87 million as of July.

State Sen. Donna Boley is concerned about how these closings will affect how quickly police are able to respond to emergencies. It could take state police more than 30 minutes to drive to some parts of Wirt County, she said.

“I want to know how much money the state thinks they will save by closing down these three detachments,” said Boley, who suggested having the meeting. “Public safety is what government should be funding above all else.”