NEW MARTINSVILLE, W.Va. — It appears that political pressure may have saved the Hundred Detachment of the West Virginia State Police.
Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught stated last week that he had received notification that the Hundred Detachment of the WV State Police would be closing sometime within the next 30 days, in an effort to cut expenses. In a letter addressed to Colonel C.R. “Jay” Smithers, Superintendent of the WV State Police, Haught asked Smithers to “note my strong opposition to the closure of the Hundred Detachment.”
“Wetzel County is a very large county and our county seat is located on the extreme western edge of the county,” Haught wrote. “The Hundred Detachment is vital to our efforts to police that section of Wetzel County.” Haught noted that recently “we have seen an increase in crime in that area of the county because of its proximity to Morgantown and Fairmont, West Virginia, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the drug traffic associated with those areas.”
Prosecutor Haught noted in his letter that Hundred’s state police detachment is currently investigating an attempted murder and a triple homicide, “both of which occurred in the Hundred area.” He further noted that the department was responsible for making an arrest in an attempted murder case, “which involved a stand-off with law enforcement. “The detachment has also been essential in both interdiction and investigation of the growing drug crimes in that part of the county, in addition to handling many other criminal investigations.”
“Closure of the Hundred Detachment is a serious blow to our efforts here in Wetzel County,” Haught noted. “If there is any way we can keep the Hundred Detachment open, please let me know.” He also noted that although he knows the state police does not have to seek his input with respect to “these decisions, however, I would have appreciated the opportunity to at least discuss the closure prior to being notified of the same . . . I would also have appreciated more notice of the action as I will need to make other arrangements with the Sheriff’s Office in order to assure myself that the needs of the Hundred area are being met.” Haught noted that he was certain the community of Hundred would have appreciated more notice as well.”
“I know that the citizens in the area will be quite concerned with the closure of the Hundred Detachment.”
In conclusion, Haught urged Col. Smithers to reconsider his decision and stated, “It will have a negative impact on our overall efforts to serve and protect the citizens in Wetzel County.”
Monday morning Prosecutor Haught stated he had been contacted by Delegate Dave Pethtel (D-W.Va.) who, in combination with Senator Larry Edgell and Senate President Jeff Kessler, had contacted Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s office. “They have assured Dave that (the closure) is not going to happen…,