Sponaugle assumes district commander post

June 30, 1998|By CLYDE FORD

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer


Sponaugle assumes post

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - As a sniper, Sid Sponaugle learned to take careful aim at his targets.

"I can still shoot. My eyesight is starting to go a bit. But I still rank among the top snipers in the state police," said Sponaugle, 40.

Today, Sponaugle becomes the district commander of the West Virginia State Police, overseeing Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties. He will give up his position as sniper for the Eastern Panhandle because his new duties will take up too much of his time.


Sponaugle is moving into the position at a time when Martinsburg state police troopers are coming under fire for allegations of roughing up a motorist after a high-speed chase. He said he could not comment on the allegations because of a pending civil suit.

In his new post, Sponaugle will be supervising the three detachment commanders in Martinsburg, Berkeley Springs and Bardane.

Sponaugle has been the commander of the Jefferson County detachment since 1994. He has spent his 19-year career with the state police there, rising from trooper to sergeant in 1993.

Sponaugle said most troopers are transferred from county to county across the state on different assignments.

"I was lucky. I was promoted to sergeant at the same time an opening came up here and now to first sergeant when there is an opening here," Sponaugle said.

Sponaugle will replace L.D. Bradley, who will be promoted to captain today and will oversee the state police in the six easternmost counties of the state.

Jefferson County Sheriff William Senseney said Sponaugle should do a good job in the new post.

"Sid came up the ranks. He came up as a trooper. He's been a good supervisor," Senseney said. "He's not the type of person who will mince a whole lot of words. He's pretty plain-spoken."

Sponaugle will be replaced by Sgt. S.E. Paugh, who was assistant commander at the Jefferson County barracks. Senior Trooper D.D. Forman is promoted to sergeant today and will be the new assistant commander in Jefferson County.

"I'm looking forward to it. I think it'll be a smooth transition," Paugh said.

Sponaugle grew up in Parsons, W.Va., a small town in Tucker County.

He went to Fairmont State College and obtained an associate's degree in business administration, but said he knew he wanted to become a state trooper.

"It was just something I always wanted to do. I always wanted to help people and I believed as a trooper I could," Sponaugle said.

"Every day there's a different challenge to it," Sponaugle said. "I don't think I'd be happy doing a job where I did the same thing every day."

After two years with the state police, he became the sniper for the Eastern Panhandle.

In West Virginia, snipers respond with the Special Response Team to hostage and other risky situations.

For the past 17 years, Sponaugle has gone out when called, and set up his sniper position.

"I won't miss the middle-of-the-night calls," Sponaugle said.

Sponaugle said he never had to fire his weapon at another person.

"I've been lucky. That is something I never wanted to do," Sponaugle said.

The Herald-Mail Articles