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W.Va. town's police chief is dismissed

August 17, 2007|By DON AINES

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA. - Shepherdstown Mayor Lance Dom said Thursday that Police Chief Curtis Keller is out and two more members of the police department will follow within the next month.

Curtis Keller, chief of the Shepherdstown Police Department since March 2005, has been dismissed from his job effective today, Dom said. Terry Bellomy, a member of the force for the past year and a half, will serve as acting chief, Dom said.

Cpl. Kenneth Mauck has submitted his resignation, effective Sept. 15, Dom said.

"I have also accepted today, and the chief has accepted, the resignation of Officer Brad Dusek, effective Aug. 31," Dom said.

Dom said that Mauck previously submitted his resignation, then rescinded it before submitting it again, "at which time it was quickly accepted."


Dom would not say why Keller, Mauck and Dusek were leaving the department, which includes the chief, four full-time officers and a small group of part-time officers.

"His departure is actually tomorrow, so it actually hasn't happened yet. We've been a long time seeing it through," Dom said.

He would not say specifically whether Keller would be reporting for duty today, his last day on the job.

"I am not at liberty to speak to the press in detail ... because I have to represent the broad interests of this town, including its financial interests," said Dom, who was elected mayor in June 2006.

Dom said the position of police chief is appointed and serves at the discretion of the mayor.

"My discretion at this time is the town would be better served by the chief moving on," he said.

"I really can't help you much," Town Councilman Neal Martineau said when asked about the police department shake-up. "If the mayor couldn't talk, I certainly can't."

"It is likely that in the future we will, if anything, reduce our force," Dom said of the department's future. "We intend to carefully hire one new officer to replace one of the two officers who will be resigning soon."

The police chief's base salary, Dom said, "is just under $53,000."

Keller, who did not immediately return a telephone message left at his home, was named interim chief by mayor Peter Wilson in December 2004 after the October resignation of Charles Cole.

Keller served with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department for 26 years, retiring in 2000.

"I'm happy to be here. I just want us to be a role model for other departments," Keller said in a story published at the time he was named chief.

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