(08/27/2011)
The West Virginia State Police has confirmed the agency is considering closing the Grantsville Detachment, which has likely been in the county since the late 1920s.

Col. C. R. "Jay" Smithers (pictured left), responding to an inquiry made on behalf of the Calhoun Commission by Sen. Jeff Kessler, said closures of some WV detachments have been considered as a cost cutting move.

Delegate David Walker did not respond to Calhoun Commission requests for assistance to look into the matter.

The Herald reported earlier that the agency was looking at a $450,000 piece of property in the Big Otter area, that could be used as a combination barracks for Clay and Calhoun.

Col. Smithers confirmed, in view of the proposed closure, "We are therefore attempting to purchase property in the Big Otter area of Clay County...close to I-79."

"We are currently in the process of reviewing all State Police facilities, in particular leased facilities," said Col. Smithers.

Col. Smithers said a 2009 study recommended the closure of 21 detachments across the state.

Smithers, in his written response, said "The cost of leasing these (21) detachments, approximately $200,000, was removed from the State Police Budget ... We were ultimately not permitted to close the detachments, causing a serious budget shortfall."

He concluded by saying without adequate monies being appropriated to cover leasing costs, the State Police will be forced to consider closing several detachments. It appears Calhoun may be among the first on the block.

Calhoun commissioners, in considering the cost-saving effort, could not calculate how the closing of the Grantsville Detachment would save money, particularly in view of the increased costs of gasoline and drive times from Clay County.

More particularly the cost savings is in question considering sources have indicated the agency is looking at purchasing property that is listed at $450,000 at Big Otter.

The monthly lease of the barracks in Calhoun is reportedly $600 plus.

The commissioners expressed further concerns about lengthy response times to many areas of the county from a Clay detachment. They will place the issue on their September agenda for possible action.

Col. Smithers did advise the Calhoun Commission, "...prior to taking such action the appropriate individuals will be notified...to discuss the consolidation."

See related story STATE POLICE COULD BE PULLING CALHOUN DETACHMENT - Agency Won't Confirm-Deny


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