(07/12/2010)
Rules keep agency from releasing details on trooper conduct, spokesman says

By Gary A. Harki
Staff writer
The Charleston Gazette
www.wvgazette.com

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - On May 6, West Virginia State Trooper J.R. Martin went missing while on duty. By all accounts, the Preston County 911 center lost contact with him for several hours that day.

He was eventually found in the Bruceton-Brandonville fire hall at about 11 p.m. He told a State Police investigator he consumed alcohol after arriving at the firehouse, according to the State Police traffic report of the incident. His cruiser bore scrapes from a guardrail, according to the report.

He has not been charged with any crime. The investigator said he was unable to determine when the trooper consumed alcohol.

Aside from the traffic report, the State Police has conducted an internal investigation into the incident -- an investigation agency officials say they can't release to the public.

Whether Martin is punished for the incident -- whether he even did anything wrong -- is something the State Police says the public doesn't have a right to know.

"You will never know the conclusion of this or what occurs," Capt. Gordon Ingold, head of the State Police professional standards section, recently told a Dominion Post reporter in Morgantown.

More about the State Police internal reviews ... W.Va. State Police stay mum on inquiries

Editor's Note: In Calhoun County there have been numerous incidents related to lost evidence, money, guns, poor performance, or alleged misconduct, with the internal investigations by the agency kept secret.

In one of several situations, a missing evidence case connected to the Groves-Hicks murder, money and guns are allegedly missing. It appeared the detachment commander Sgt. C. J. Ellyson was asked to resign or was fired by the agency. He reportedly now works as an officer for the Summersville Police Department. There is no information regarding whether a crime happened, or what the State Police concluded.

The agency would not confirm if he was still eligible for his state retirement benefits.

Numerous attempts made by the Hur Herald, including FOIAs, were denied, the Herald contends that the public has a right to know about such situations related to alleged wrongdoing by public servants.


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