(02/20/2007)
"On call." That's the phrase being used to describe the West Virginia State Police presence in Pleasants and Wirt Counties.

The six troopers previously patrolling those areas are now based in Wood County.

Pleasants County Sheriff's Department said Monday no state police troopers were assisting deputies on their calls.

Sheriff Ted Maston said "What we really want from all of this is for the troopers that are assigned to Pleasants county, we want them. We want their presence in Pleasants county."

Maston said despite press statements, no troopers are scheduled to man the St. Marys state police detachment at any time.

Col. David Lemon, head of the State Police in West Virginia, says they're using the resources they have in a way that makes the most sense in Wirt County, Wood County and Pleasants County.

"We're just stretching the manpower a little bit more, stretching it out," he said, "Wood County, where the population is, you have more demands for service and that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to respond to the citizens' needs."

Lemon indicated troopers have a lot of down time in Wirt and Pleasants Counties.

Lemon says its a readjustment they've been trying out in that part of West Virginia for the past six months, a shifting of resources as needed.

He told MetroNews there are no plans to close detachments in Wirt County and Pleasants County, but apparently officers are not being stationed there.

"The patch says West Virginia State Police, so that's what we're doing," he said.

The Sheriff of Wirt County has indicated the arrangement is not helpful to his rural area with long distances a frequent issue.


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