State Police release progress report on internal investigations

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia State Police is detailing the progress that’s been made regarding investigations surrounding their department in a report sent out this week.

Jack Chambers

Superintendent Colonel Jack Chambers, who recently had the interim tag removed from his title, said he wanted to be transparent with the public on these ongoing investigations, according to the WVSP.

The report includes details on the hidden camera placed in the women’s locker room at the State Police Academy.

The status of several ongoing investigations were updated:

• The hidden camera at the WVSP academy and the destruction of the storage device that contained footage from the hidden camera are currently the subject of federal and internal investigations.

• Regarding the domestic issues and related criminal investigation of Joseph Comer, the domestic violence protective order was dismissed by a Family Court Judge at the petitioner’s request. The
state criminal charges for strangulation and domestic battery remain pending in Ritchie County Circuit Court.

• The alleged sexual assaults of two women in Logan County by a state trooper remain under Federal Investigation. Presently, both women have filed civil actions related to the allegations.

• The I-81 matter remains the subject of Federal and State criminal investigations and an internal investigation.

The following steps have been taken to improve accountability and oversight:

• Previously, some supervisory personnel approved his or her own time entry and leave activity. The superintendent now requires all daily activity reports or hours worked to be approved by the
next-line supervisor.

• The superintendent engaged the FBI to provide training for all members of the WVSP in civil rights violations and the responsibility of acting under “color of law.” Several members underwent
the training during in-service. The remainder of the members shall receive the training in the next round of in-service.

• Four Troopers have recently separated from employment due to the recognition of failing to meet the standards and expectations of the WVSP.

• At the direction of DHS, the WVSP has collected and reviewed all currently effective Memorandums of Understanding into which the WVSP has entered with other agencies.

• The superintendent requested the assistance of DHS’s Division of Administrative Services to provide assistance and guidance in grants, human resources, purchasing, payroll, and accounting.

• Superintendent Chambers sent a letter of apology to any female victimized by the hidden camera in the WVSP Academy Locker room.

• The WVSP, DHS, and Marshall University are working to implement the Marshall University Health Line to aid females who believe themselves victims of the hidden camera system.

The following information details efforts and improvements to the West Virginia State Police Training Academy:

• The superintendent directed the upgrade of the current camera system with 60 new cameras to improve the security of the Academy compound, its entrances, and other common areas.

• The superintendent directed the installation of an Access Control System on all of Academy complex entries to limit and record all access.

• Staffing changes

• Curriculum adjustment to provide a better educational environment and retention of knowledge.

• Limiting the stress inoculation period for the first few weeks, then providing a transition to more academic and experiential training.

• Signed a memorandum of understanding with WVSU that will award 30 college credit hours for Basic class members upon graduation and 90 credit hours hours for Cadets upon graduation.

• Upgrades to female barracks with in-house female staff member.

• The superintendent directed the Deputy Superintendent to meet with all female trainees at the beginning and end of all training classes. This meeting is to inform the female trainees that each may contact persons outside of the academy in the event an issue exists with academy staff.

 





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