(02/18/2008)
By Bob Weaver

After State Police were pulled last year from Wirt and Pleasants counties to essentially be based in a "higher intensity" area like Wood County, Senator Donna Boley and others called for an investigation.

State Police officials denied any plan to consolidate county detachments, and appeared to be oblivious about what the move was about during a public meeting held last year in St. Marys.

After nearly a year, Sen. Boley recently discovered the investigation fell by the wayside, but it has now been reinvigorated.

After a public outcry in Wirt and Pleasants, the agency returned the officers to their respective counties within a matter of weeks.

Wirt and Pleasant County residents were told by State Police officials the move would lead to better coverage of all areas.

Legislative auditors have been in both counties in recent weeks, looking about levels of several, needs and who is providing it.

Larry Gainer, executive director of the Pleasants County Development Authority, provided activity statistics for that county, obtained from the 911 center.

That data showed the Pleasant County Sheriff's Department answered 1,168 calls, the St. Mary's Police Department answered 1,374 calls and the State Police responded to 36 calls.

The State's Performance Evaluation and Research Division will continue with the audit, says Sen. Boley, who noted the audit is not the result of dissatisfaction with individual trooper's performance.

Data from Wirt County has yet to be released.


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