The Calhoun Commissioners said they and Calhoun citizens widely oppose the closure of the Grantsville Detachment of the WV State Police, set for December 31.
The commissioners passed a resolution (see below) against the closure, and advised that the Calhoun prosecuting attorney Shannon Johnson has been asked to join Wirt County to file an injunction to delay the closing.
Delegate Roger Hanshaw attended the meeting, saying law enforcement should be a number one priority, instead of reducing services. Hanshaw and county commissioners will be attempting to meet with the governor Tuesday.
Commissioners said the WV State Police had not advised officials or county citizens about the quick closure, and the commission had to contact the agency to verify.
Members law enforcement, state police, county sheriff's department, the Grantsville department and DNR attended the meeting with a number of county citizens.
Arnoldsburg resident Charlie McKown said he would donate a house for the Calhoun barracks, the agency saying the costs of a current lease of $600 or so dollars is a cost savings issue, while indicating that no officers would be losing their jobs.
Commissioners said this is the third attempt to close the Grantsville barracks, and that the State Police's closure plan has yet to be made available with financials.
Grantsville businessman Dick Ullum also offered to provide a Mt. Zion site free of charge for the Grantsville detachment.
Current sheriff Carl Ballengee and sheriff elect Jeff Starcher both said the county does not have the financial resources to replace services.
"I can't understand the push for closure in relation to the importance of public safety," said Starcher.
911/OES official Julie Sears said, "This is a horrible idea, this county relies heavily on the State Police."
Former Grantsville mayor Gary Knight asked, "You mean no one has actually seen the closure plan?"
Commissioner Chip Westfall and Kevin Helmick said this is the third closure attempt, and they are going to do everything we can to keep it from happening.
CALHOUN COMMISSION RESOLUTION
The Calhoun County commission unanimously opposes a plan by the West Virginia State Police to target the closure of the Grantsville detachment, in addition to Elizabeth and Hundred:
Whereas, we object to the fact that Calhoun officials and citizens were not notified of the pending closure, that we had to contact the WV State Police following rumors,
Whereas, we object to the short term notice of slightly over 30 days prior to the December 31, 2016 closure,
Whereas, we object to the closure of three detachments in some of the most rural areas of the state, in view that the WV State Police initially released a reorganization plan of more that 20 detachments,
Whereas, we cannot discern projected costs savings linked to the closures, in view that personnel are not be reduced,
Whereas, we object to the closure of two adjacent counties, Calhoun and Wirt, at the same time, affecting public safety,
Whereas, we primarily object to the closure because of our concerns for the public safety of our citizens, response times up to 40 miles from the nearest detachments,
Whereas, we beseech the West Virginia State Police and WV legislators to reconsider the closures,
Given this 28th day of November, 2016, by the hand of the commissioners of Calhoun County.
- Robert Weaver, Scottie Westfall, Kevin Helmick
READ: COL. SMITHERS CONFIRMS STATE POLICE DETACHMENT CLOSINGS - Agency Promoted 30 Officers With $4,000 Pay Raises, Calhoun Commission Will Act Monday. Wirt Public Meeting Monday Evening