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Police department controversies

August 09, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

The missing $7,665 seized by the Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Police Department is among a list of issues and controversies that have confronted the department in recent years, including:

· Two lawsuits were filed against former Shepherdstown Police Department officer Chris Roper over his handling of two incidents. In one suit, filed in U.S. District Court, it is alleged that Roper threw a Shepherdstown man into an alley one evening in 2003 and kicked him several times. In the second suit, filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court, it is alleged that Roper and another officer lunged at a woman, causing her head to hit a car.

· Roper was involved in another incident in 2005 at the Jefferson County Fair that involved a couple who did not move after they were told they were blocking the view of people attending a demolition derby. After Lissa Brown Janssen was arrested at the fair Aug. 23, about 40 people showed up at the Shepherdstown Police Department to protest the arrest. Police later concluded that there was no wrongdoing in the fair incident.

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· Former Police Chief Charles Cole resigned from the police department in October 2004, saying he could not agree with former Mayor Peter Wilson over an issue regarding the department. Cole's resignation followed a difference of opinion in town about the police department.

When Wilson was running for mayor, he said many people in town believed the police department does not respect them and some business owners feel the police department does not understand them. Cole said he always felt the department was run professionally.

· The embattled Roper was dismissed from his position in June. Wilson said the dismissal stemmed from an investigation that Roper was handling and it "raised concerns."

Roper's attorney said he can refute allegations made against Roper, and said he planned to appeal Roper's dismissal in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

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