Police task force considered

September 24, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Two local police departments want to develop a task force to respond to hostage situations and other similar crimes, officials said Thursday at a meeting between the Berkeley County Commission and Martinsburg City Council.

Members of the task force, which would be made up of officers from the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department and Martinsburg City Police, would receive special training to handle hostage-type situations, said Martinsburg City Manager Mark Baldwin.

"I think it's a good effort," said Baldwin.

County Commissioner Robert L. Burkhart said the task force could be used for any situation in which many officers are needed quickly, such as a shooting in a public building.

The training could be offered through several agencies, such as the FBI or the West Virginia State Police, said Burkhart.

Officials did not say how large the task force might be.

Officials with the two local police departments could not be reached for comment.


The discussion came during a meeting between the two governing bodies at the Berkeley County Courthouse.

The council and commissioners began meeting periodically in January to work together on issues relating to public safety, utilities and special projects. They realized that many of the issues they are dealing with are the same, and by working together, they can often make great strides to reach solutions, said Commissioner D. Wayne Dunham.

One project the council and commission worked on recently was building a new swimming pool at War Memorial Park. The two sides pitched in $500,000 each to build it.

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