CALHOUN'S STATE POLICE DETACHMENT ON CUTTING BLOCK AGAIN

(05/07/2013)

State Police officials in Charleston are reportedly moving again to close the Grantsville/Calhoun detachment of the agency, according to informed sources.

While the agency has previously moved to withdraw from Calhoun, Wirt and Pleasants counties, they changed their mind following community efforts to keep the detachments open.

Calhoun would be the first WV county not to have a detachment.

The Calhoun county commissioners for a third time are contacting elected representatives, seeking assistance to keep the detachment in the county.

State Police officials acknowledged in 2011 they wanted to close the detachment and station troopers in another county, but changed their mind after Calhoun commissioners led an effort to keep the officers in the county.

About two months ago, information surfaced that the Grantsville and Elizabeth detachments secretary would not be replaced, following the retirement of detachment secretaries.

Commissioners, after hearing the rumors, contacted state representatives about the matter, and the agency denied the movement, saying the Calhoun secretary position would be posted.

Apparently it was not, but a new Wirt County secretary was hired after a retirement there.

Calhoun commissioners are protesting the move based on long response times over crooked roads from neighboring detachments, particularly when high-risk incidents happen.

Col. C. R. "Jay" Smithers earlier told the Calhoun Commission that the proposed closure of the Grantsville detachment was a cost-savings move, with the possible closure of 20 other detachments, recommended by a study done by the agency.

Public Information Officer Michael Baylous told state media, "We continually review our daily operations in an attempt to become more effective and efficient as an agency."

Baylous said the State Police is always willing to make changes to financially benefit the citizens of West Virginia and keep the public safe.

The Grantsville barracks is leased for $600 a month.

Following the publishing of the proposed consolidation in 2011 by the Hur Herald, agency supervisors advised local detachment officers to no longer release public information locally.

The agency has also declined general information and Freedom of Information requests from state media outlets for a list of detachments (21) on a proposed closure list.

See related story STATE POLICE SAY THEY WILL NOT CLOSE GRANTSVILLE DETACHMENT - Agency Purchasing Premo Clay Property For $350,000


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