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Trooper numbers to increase at area state police barracks

July 01, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Four additional West Virginia State Police troopers will be assigned to the Martinsburg detachment, allowing the barrack to adequately staff its midnight shift, a state police official said Monday.

Because of a trooper shortage across the state, state police in Berkeley County, W.Va., have not been staffing the midnight to 8 a.m. shift on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, state police said.

The four troopers being sent to the Martinsburg state police detachment will bring the number of troopers at the barrack to 21, and allow the office to cover the midnight shift, 1st Sgt. Deke Walker said.

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A minimum of two troopers will be assigned to the midnight shift, Walker said.

Earlier in the year, police from several agencies in the Eastern Panhandle said they cannot devote the time they need to solving crimes because they do not have enough officers or because they are too busy with other duties such as providing court security or carrying out court orders.

In February, John Droppleman of the West Virginia Troopers Association said state police may be able to deal with the shortage at that point, but he worried how the department would control crime when summer arrives and criminals start getting more active.

Droppleman, a local trooper, predicted the public was going to get "hammered."

Walker said state police detachments in Berkeley and Jefferson counties always can use more officers, but he said the additional troopers headed to the area will help.

"We're going to do the best we can with what we have," Walker said.

The Charles Town, W.Va., detachment will get two more troopers, but one of those is expected to be transferred to the Moorefield, W.Va., area after being trained, Walker said.

The six troopers being sent to the area will come from a total of 53 new troopers who are graduating from the state police academy in Institute, W.Va. this month, Walker said.

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