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Health official finds evidence of pesticide site near school

March 23, 2001

Health official finds evidence of pesticide site near school



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


The Berkeley County Sheriff's Department does not plan to provide police officers to enforce speed limits on Interstate 81 through the county, Sheriff Randy Smith said Thursday.

"In my opinion, 81 is more than adequately covered by law enforcement," Smith told the Berkeley County Commission.

County Commission President Howard Strauss said he wanted to see more county presence on the interstate because the state had refused to comply with a commission request to lower the speed limit. State Highway Engineer Joe Denault said this week that adding more police officers to enforce existing limits was a better answer.

Smith said the West Virginia State Police agency has officers assigned to the interstate and he doesn't have the personnel to devote anyone to the interstate.

That was fine with County Commissioner Robert Burkhart.

"I think we have enough (enforcement) by the state," Burkhart said. "I think we need more patrol in the back roads of the county. We have enough to do with the Sheriff's Office that we don't need to patrol I-81."

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He added: "I think if we put our deputies out there, the state will pull their people out."

Smith said he doesn't believe that would happen.

He told the commissioners he has reached agreement with the State Police to split 50/50 the duties of investigating accidents in the county away from the interstate. In return, the State Police have agreed to cover all accidents on I-81, he said.

Until 1989, the Sheriff's Department investigated accidents in the county, but discontinued the practice because of the volume of paperwork and number of support personnel needed.

Smith said he has requested deputies use I-81 if possible when driving from one location to another within the county.

"From my experience, when I'm in a marked cruiser, the mere presence of that cruiser will slow traffic down," the sheriff said.

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