CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A group of lawmakers were at the State Capitol Tuesday discussing where they can find more funding for the West Virginia State Police Crimes Against Children Unit.

Members of the Legislature’s Select Committee on Crimes Against Children are seeking funding for a new class of state troopers so the State Police unit dedicated to preventing and resolving crimes against children can be expanded.

“That’s one of our missions is to take care of the health and welfare of our citizens,” said Committee Vice Chairwoman Barbara Fleischauer.

Committee members have spent the past five months consulting with professionals across the state who work to protect vulnerable and abused children and have realized that there is a need.

Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, said the Crimes Against Children Unit is currently understaffed and overburdened.

“This is one of the reasons they need more troopers is because it is so traumatic to work with these little kids that are beaten and abused at a very young age frequently by people they know,” she said. “They need to move out and go work on other issues for awhile.”

A new class of state troopers graduates would allow for more experienced officers to be moved into the Crimes Against Children Unit.

Currently, there are 18 uniformed members of the Crimes Against Child Unit. Of those,14 are investigators, three are supervisors and there is one analyst. There are six civilian personnel.

Delegate Fleischauer said finding a way to pay for another trooper class is essential for fighting against child abuse and exploitation in West Virginia.

“I can’t imagine anything more important than these innocent children,” she said.

The cost to train and equip a class of 50 new troopers would be about $5.7 million.

Fleischauer said she understands how tough it will be to find that kind of money with the state’s budget being as tight as it is, but it is possible.

“We have some ideas where we might be able to move around some existing funding,” she explains.

Lawmakers Tuesday afternoon announced plans to propose legislation that would increase funding by more than $5 dollars.

Fleischauer said it’s their responsibility to find a way so the kids can be protected.

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  • sam

    i am not wvsp and i would put my resume up against anyone. I know i could do the job of investigating these types of crimes. DHHR is not responsible enough to conduct these investigations and the state police needs to get out of the welfare business. Why don't the state give anyone else the opprotunity to do these jobs and make the big bucks like the wvsp. You cannot bring the retired troopers back. they do not care about the job or victims, just their paychecks.

  • stophating

    This looks like a smokescreen to get yet another raise for troopers. Approve 50 additional, claim shortage and get a raise.

    I guess you must pay the guys with guns well... Especially when screwing state employees over year after year

  • Dale

    I'm sorry Fentanyl Bomb but it was not until this special unit within the WVSP was organized that these horrible cases were identified and worked with such overwhelming success. CPS can only do so much without the training, forensic support, and arrest authority. Clearly enhancing this specialized unit is the correct approach. Perhaps CPS should be moved and placed as civilian support of the WVSP Crimes Against Children Unit?

    • sam

      Why limit to WV certified sate troppers. The state has outstanding investigators within its ranks. WVDOT, DHHR and other certified law enforcement personel. Why can't these jobs be opened up to them?

  • C. F. T.

    Throughout its history the WVSP has been recognized nationally as one of, if not the premier state Law Enforcement organization. Most importantly feared by the bad guys and respected by WV citizens.
    Fact is the number of WVSP Officers is significantly below allotted positions, so the problem is finding cadets with the courage and integrity to uphold the standards of the WVSP.
    May the Superintendent, Legislature and Governor never undermine the integrity of the WVSP.

    • Bill

      There is to much politics played in recruiting new troops, I know a kid who wanted to be a WV State Trooper all his life and he lived everyday to like it, he passed every phase of the selection process and was told by the Sgt. assigned to do his background, that he was a great fit for the job and what he needed todo to get ready for the training, the kid was on cloud nine, and thought his education and past employment finally paid off. Than he received a letter denying his acceptance, but one of his friends was admitted even thou he had a backgound of selling drugs, but his family had money and political pull, so don't tell me you can't find people with courage and integrity,the only people lacking integrity is the State Police.

      • mtmanstan

        I know every situation is different Bill. My son is a WV State Trooper. We are not in any way made of money nor do we have any political clout. Because one person didn't make the cut doesn't reflect the integrity of the entire institution.
        If the person you speak of has the courage and integrity maybe he should try again.

        • Bill

          I was told by a extrooper whom had retired 15 yrs ago that his nephew had already been accepted, this was before he even went thru the acceptance phases. Why should a person with integrity waste their time with a organization that has so much netotism?

        • Polly the Pundit

          Example of what Bill is referring to: The children of Linda Cruikshank, former secretary in the Governor's office - both her son's were Troopers. Now one is on disability...The former heaqd of the lab Bob White's son is a Trooper in the lab...neptotism and cronyism are instilled in much of the agency...

          • C. F. T.

            Name any person or organization that does not have a few scars, warts and bad apples, perhaps even a few political sucks, BUT overall the WVSP is the premier State Police Dept. In the Nation, and we WV Citizens are well served/protected by these Officers.
            Looking to the future It would be irresponsible for elected and appointed officials to further undermine the Dept. and we Citizens need to be aggressive in calling the hand of anyone who may attempt to degrade the Dept.

  • DWL

    Here's a novel approach - defund the social entitlement programs! I also agree the laws on the books work, use them. CPS is a waste of money. It needs a top down house cleaning.

  • Dale

    I think everybody agrees we need to do everything possible to protect innocent children. God bless those Troopers in their efforts. Find the necessary funds legislature!

    • Fentanyl Bomb

      These innocent children are already protected by existing laws and manpower.

      These troopers are no more traumatized by their daily grind than the CPS workers that they accompany to hot spots.

      It is by far cheaper to hire and equip twice as many social workers than the WVSP.The CPS, if better funded, is far more likely to follow up and influence at-risk children than the WVSP.

      The WVSP is an honorable institution, but I don't believe that this particular proposed expenditure is in their wheelhouse.