By Bob Weaver

Gilmer County appears to be losing their correctional officer training center operated at the Gilmer Co. Recreational Center.

Joseph C. Thornton, Deputy Cabinet Secretary for the WV Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, says "There is some truth that a single location is being considered for a combined training academy or professional development center for the Division of Corrections, the Regional Jail Authority and the Division of Juvenile Services."

Thornton said many of the functions and training requirements of these three agencies are identical and a unified academy would allow for maximization of training efforts.

He indicated a new facility is in the works, certainly at a new location.

Lisa Smarr, a member of the Gilmer County Recreational Board and the Glenville Town Council, says every effort is being made to keep the facility in Gilmer.

Smarr said "We have been informed the contract with our recreational center will not be renewed," indicating she believed the facility will likely be moved to the southern part of the state.

Smarr said legislators and officials are being contacted.

The training program has been at the recreational center for a few years.

The state has informed the Rec Center that a decision to relocate the facility could be made by May, but Thornton said there is no firmly established deadline to accomplish the unification.

"I have asked the training directors of the three divisions to work together to develop a short- and long-term plan that unifies our professional development efforts," Thornton concluded.