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Panhandle to house trooper headquarters

March 12, 1998

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia Gov. Cecil Underwood signed a bill Thursday creating two new regional headquarters for the West Virginia State Police, including one for the Eastern Panhandle counties.

A location for the new troop headquarters hasn't been selected, but Jefferson County Commission President R. Gregory Lance said it should be on the 10 acres of land in Bardane, W.Va., that the county gave the police in 1994.

West Virginia State Police currently are administered through a system of a main headquarters in Charleston, W.Va., and five regional offices, known as company headquarters, said West Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Ric Robinson.

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Troopers in Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties fall under Company C in Elkins, W.Va., Robinson said.

The company headquarters provide vehicle maintenance and radio maintenance for Eastern Panhandle troopers.

Troopers have to take their cruisers to Elkins for oil changes every 5,000 miles and for inspections every 10,000 miles, he said.

For Jefferson County troopers, traveling to Elkins can mean four hours of driving round-trip, Robinson said.

"It was not an efficient way to run a business," Robinson said.

Under the new plans, the Eastern Panhandle counties will have their own regional headquarters.

Robinson said the regional offices will be known as troop headquarters instead of company headquarters.

The facility will be staffed with a captain, first lieutenant, secretary, clerk, at least one mechanic and one electronics expert to handle the radio shop, he said.

Robinson said having a troop headquarters does not necessarily mean the state will assign additional police officers to the area. He said state police will review where troopers are needed and more could be assigned to the Eastern Panhandle, but that has not been decided.

Lance said the county gave land to the state police with the understanding that the state would use it for driver training and commercial vehicle licensing. The state police started construction, but ran out of funds after putting up the shell of a building.

Lance said the state should finish the building for the troop headquarters, but he said he's worried that it will go to Berkeley County, which is more centrally located.

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