MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito was in Martinsburg Wednesday, touring the new Martinsburg Police Department headquarters and talking to some old friends.
Capito told MetroNews affiliate WEPM Radio, “I want to support Mayor (Kevin) Knowles in his new position. He’s done a great job. We’ve known each other a long time. I also want to support the chief (Police Chief George Swartwood),” Capito said. “Law enforcement is so critical to the safety and security of Berkeley County and all across America, and it’s been a tough year for them. I am always supportive of law enforcement. I want to see where I can help.”
Knowles was appointed to fill the remaining term of the late Mayor Harriet Johnson, who died in July.
Besides meetings with Swartwood and Knowles, Capito toured the Berkeley County Day Report Center and met with director Tim Czaja.
Capito said Martinsburg is laying important groundwork in battling some serious issues.
“We know the drug issue is ever present in West Virginia. I always want to check in and see how we’re doing, not just with treatment but with some of the interventions I know Martinsburg has been on the cutting edge of,” she said.
Filling corrections officer vacancies in the state has been a focus in the legislative meetings this week, as some jails are functioning with less than half of the workforce they need.
Capito said the workforce shortage is happening in all sectors but said she believes in doing “whatever it takes” to bring staffing levels up to standard.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Swartwood told Capito the $14 million police department headquarters had been built with no debt. The building opened last year but officials have curtailed large open house events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.