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 DMAPS officers honored for providing special courtroom security

5/1/2019

May 1, 2019

DMAPS officers honored for providing special courtroom security

 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Constitution creates three separate branches of government, but that doesn’t mean they can’t or don’t work together. The same is true for the state and county offices that carry out different duties on behalf of West Virginia’s citizens.

 

Calhoun County was recently the setting for a successful exercise in intergovernmental cooperation. The circuit court there had a high-profile, multi-defendant murder and armed robbery trial scheduled, but was short-staffed for courthouse security. The Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety answered the resulting call for assistance from Gov. Jim Justice.

 

Twenty-two deputies and officers with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Capitol Police helped to carry out Justice’s November 2018 executive order. They helped provide security for the duration of the case, from motions hearings that fall through jury selection and the eight-day trial in February. 

 

These men and women were honored Wednesday during a Governor’s Reception Room ceremony at the State Capitol.

 

“I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough,” Circuit Judge Anita Ashley, who presided over the case, told the honorees. “My staff and I certainly appreciate all you’ve done. You really made us feel safe and secure.”

 

DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy presented certificates of appreciation and the department’s Freedom Pin to each individual. Recalling his prior career as a federal agent and county sheriff, Sandy underscored how stressful a criminal trial can be – particularly when defendants are charged with murder and face possible life sentences if convicted.

 

“That is why it was so important that the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety came forward and provided the security that was needed,” Sandy said. “These people did an outstanding job.”

 

The following individuals were honored:

 

State Fire Marshal’s Office

Deputy Paul Alloway

Deputy Jason Baltic

Deputy Lonnie Cogar

Deputy Shawn Petry

Deputy Mark Stewart

 

Capitol Police

Cpl. Van Armstrong

Officer Jeremy Collins

Sgt. Scott Duff

Officer Dustin Huffman

Lt. Robert Herald

 

 

Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation

 

Bureau of Prisons and Jails

Capt. James Day                

Sgt. Eric Harron

Lt. Andrew Hill                     

Cpl. Edward Kupfner

Sgt. Brandon Leasure        

Sgt. Andrew Nething

Sgt. Chad Richmond          

Capt. David Vincent

Lt. Dustin Wilson

 

Bureau of Community Corrections

Escapee/ Absconder Coordinator Judy Fitzgerald

Officer Erin Hollen

Lt. Brian Moler

 

Sandy commended DMAPS Corrections Investigations Director Jeffrey James, a fellow former career Treasury agent, for organizing and leading the special mission. Sandy thanked the West Virginia State Police as well. Troopers provided the initial support when Judge Ashley requested assistance. They also intercepted drugs found hidden in a courthouse bathroom, allegedly for one of the defendants.

 

Justice’s executive order provided for short-term security services by DMAPS, which also signed a memorandum agreement with Judge Ashley and the Calhoun county commission and sheriff to carry out this mission.

 

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LAWRENCE MESSINA (304) 558-2930 Lawrence.C.Messina@wv.gov