Charles Town pull out of task force

July 14, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Charles Town Police Chief Mike Aldridge has pulled his department's representative out of the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force because the town's police department is short staffed.

When Patrolman Mark Johnston returns to the Charles Town Police Department today, it will mark the first time one of the departments that provide officers for the task force will have pulled an officer out of the agency.

The Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force was created about four years ago and is made up of five state troopers, two Martinsburg Police officers, two Berkeley County sheriff's deputies, a Jefferson County sheriff's deputy and a Charles Town Police officer, said Martinsburg Police Capt. Ted Anderson, who oversees the task force's operations.


The task force is able to handle undercover drug investigations and lengthy criminal cases for which other departments might not have the resources, Anderson said.

Most of the task force cases have led to federal indictments and convictions, Anderson said.

Aldridge said he remains a firm believer in the work done by the task force.

But two officers have recently left his department and a third is on a two-month leave of absence, Aldridge said.

That left him with 10 officers, including himself, to patrol the streets of Charles Town.

One of the officers left for a larger police department which offered more money, Aldridge said. Another officer left to work in bank security for a much larger salary, Aldridge said.

Aldridge said he had to think about the needs of Charles Town. He said he also has reassigned the other officers to a different schedule to have at least one officer on duty around the clock.

Aldridge has rescheduled the officers from 10 hours, four days a week, to eight hours, five days a week.

Aldridge said he intends for Johnston's reassignment to be only temporary, but he said he does not know when he will be sent back to the task force.

Anderson said he hopes to get Johnston back in the task force soon because he is a good investigator.

Anderson said he believes support remains strong among other police agencies who provide officers to the task force.

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