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definition - West Virginia State Police

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West Virginia State Police

West Virginia State Police
Abbreviation WVSP
West Virginia State Police.png
Patch of the West Virginia State Police.
Agency overview
Formed June 29, 1919
Preceding agency West Virginia Department of Public Safety
Employees 1018 (as of 2010) [1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of West Virginia, USA
Size 24,230 square miles (62,800 km2)
Population 1,812,035 (2007 est.)[2]
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters South Charleston, West Virginia
State Troopers 659 (as of 2010)
Civilians 359 (as of 2010)
Agency executive C.R. "Jay" Smithers, Colonel
Parent agency West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety
Troops 7
Detachments 63
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The West Virginia State Police is a paramilitary organization, state law enforcement agency in the United States that provides statewide police services to the 1.83 million residents in West Virginia. It is the fourth oldest state police agency and was born in the second extraordinary session of the West Virginia Legislature on June 19, 1919 as a result of uprisings surrounding organized labor in the coal and mine industries.[3]



Governor John Jacob Cornwell was insistent upon having a State Police force which he said, "was mandatory in order for him to uphold the laws of our state." Part of the compromise was the name of the organization: "West Virginia Department of Public Safety" was the official name until 1995 when the name was changed to "West Virginia State Police" during the legislative session.


Like other state law enforcement agencies, West Virginia troopers enforce traffic laws statewide, investigate crimes and protect the governor and his immediate family. The superintendent of the West Virginia State Police is Colonel C.R. "Jay" Smithers who replaced Colonel Timothy Pack.

West Virginia State Police troopers wear a forest-green uniform and campaign hat. They receive their training at the West Virginia State Police Academy located in Institute, a suburb of Charleston, and near the agency's headquarters in South Charleston. Upon appointment, cadets undergo an intense training program at the academy.

The West Virginia State Police also runs its own forensic laboratory and provide scientific investigation services to law enforcement agencies across the state. Services offered to criminal justice agencies include biochemistry, drug, firearm investigations, latent prints, questioned documents, toxicology and trace evidence. The crime lab is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB).[4]

  Recruitment and training

The West Virginia Division of Criminal Justice Services is responsible for setting minimum physical ability standards for police officers working in the state. In 2007, following a national trend, it relaxed the physical ability standards for aspiring police officers. Right now, any police applicant must do at least 18 push-ups/minute, 27 sit-ups/minute and be able to run 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in a maximum time limit of 15 minutes 20 seconds.[5] The State Police, however, chose not to follow those standards unlike most local police agencies in West Virginia. The agency's recruiters still require applicants to perform at least 27 push-ups/minute, 29 sit-ups/minute and those same applicants have to run 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in no more than 14 minutes 52 seconds, which were all the initial minimum requirements for all police departments in West Virginia.[6]

  The West Virginia State Police Academy in Institute

Training at the paramilitary academy lasts about 24 weeks compared to about 16 weeks for officers from other departments (trained at the same academy). When cadets graduate, they are promoted to the rank of "Trooper." They can be stationned anywhere in the 55 West Virginia counties working from detachments (barracks). They serve an eighteen-month probationary period that starts at the time they enter the academy. After completing successfully that probationary period, they are eligible to receive an associate degree in police sciences through the Marshall Technical and Community College program.


Like many police agencies nationwide, the shortage of sworn personnel in some counties has raised debates about the need for more funding to recruit more cadets. As of June 2010, the agency employed 659 sworn officers and 359 civilian staff members, making it de facto the largest law enforcement agency in West Virginia.[7] Short in man power or not, the State Police is heavily relied upon to assist in some rural counties.

The State Police is and has been the only agency to operate a law enforcement academy in West Virginia. It trains its own troopers but also all other law enforcement officers from the state: sheriff deputies, city and college police officers, and motor carrier enforcement officers who are not part of the State Police like in some states, but have their own separate agency.

  Rank Structure

Title Insignia
Superintendent - Colonel
US-O6 insignia.svg
Lieutenant Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
US-O4 insignia.svg
US-O3 insignia.svg
US-O2 insignia.svg
First Sergeant
West Virginia State Police First Sergeant Stripes.png
West Virginia State Police Sergeant Stripes.png
West Virginia State Police Corporal Stripes.png
Trooper First Class
West Virginia State Police Senior Trooper Stripes.png
Senior Trooper
West Virginia State Police Trooper First Class Stripes.png


  An unmarked Chevy Impala parked at the West Virginia State Police Academy

Most of the State Police vehicles are Ford Crown Victorias with blue and gold colors accompanied by the agency's logo on the side front doors.[8] In recent years, the agency has phased in Chevrolet Impalas, Chevrolet Trailblazers and Ford Explorers into its fleet. The agency also uses unmarked vehicles (usually assigned to command staff members statewide), Dodge Durangos and Chargers. Typical emergency lighting on a fully marked cruiser are the overheads (bar lights) and front wig wags.


  • Cabinet Secretary
  • Superintendent of the State Police
    • Deputy Superintdent
      • Executive Services
        • Media Relations Unit
        • Personnel Unit
        • Medical Unit
      • Staff Services
        • Accounting Unit
        • Communications Unit
        • Criminal Records Unit
        • Forensic Laboratory
        • Planning and Research Unit
        • Procurement Unit
        • Promotional Standards Unit
        • Traffic Records Unit
        • Training Academy
        • Uniform Crime Reporting Unit
      • Professional Standards
      • Legal Services
      • Field Operations
        • Field Troops 1 - 8
        • Bureau of Criminal Investigations
          • Regional Offices 1 - 6
          • Investigative Support Services
            • Insurance Fraud Unit
            • Polygraph Unit
            • Drug Diversion Unit
            • Marijuana Eradication
            • Digital Forensics Unit
            • Technical Operations Unit
            • Cold Case Unit
          • Criminal Intelligence Unit
        • Special Operations Unit
          • Special Response Teams
          • Aviation Section
          • K‐9 Unit
          • Explosive Response Teams
        • Crimes Against Children Unit
        • Executive Protection Unit

  Troops and detachments

Troop 0 Command - South Charleston

  • Headquarters
  • Forensic Laboratory
  • Executive Protection
  • Special Operations

Troop 1 Command - Shinnston

  • Bridgeport Detachment
  • Fairmont Detachment
  • Grafton Detachment
  • Hundred Detachment
  • Kingwood Detachment
  • Morgantown Detachment
  • Moundsville Detachment
  • New Cumberland Detachment
  • Paden City Detachment
  • Shinnston Detachment

Troop 2 Command - Charles Town

  • Berkeley Springs Detachment
  • Charles Town Detachment
  • Keyser Detachment
  • Martinsburg Detachment
  • Moorefield/Petersburg Detachment
  • Romney Detachment

Troop 3 Command - Elkins

  • Buckhannon Detachment
  • Elkins Detachment
  • Franklin Detachment
  • Glenville Detachment
  • Marlinton Detachment
  • Parsons Detachment
  • Philippi Detachment
  • Webster Springs Detachment
  • Weston Detachment

Troop 4 Command - South Charleston

  • Clay Detachment
  • Elizabeth Detachment
  • Grantsville Detachment
  • Harrisville Detachment
  • Parkersburg Detachment
  • Quincy Detachment
  • Ripley Detachment
  • South Charleston Detachment
  • Spencer Detachment
  • Mason County Detachment
  • Winfield Detachment
  • St Marys Detachment

Troop 5 Command - Logan

  • Gilbert Detachment
  • Hamlin Detachment
  • Huntington Detachment
  • Logan Detachment
  • Madison Detachment

Troop 6 Command - Beckley

  • Beckley Detachment
  • Gauley Bridge Detachment
  • Hinton Detachment
  • Jesse Detachment
  • Lewisburg Detachment
  • Oak Hill Detachment
  • Princeton Detachment
  • Rainelle Detachment
  • Richwood Detachment
  • Summersville Detachment
  • Welch Detachment
  • Whitesville Detachment
  • Union Detachment

Troop 7 Command - Parkway Authority

  • Parkways - Beckley Detachment
  • Parkways - Charleston Detachment

Troop 8 Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI)

  Fallen officers

Since the establishment of the West Virginia State Police, 38 officers have died in the line of duty.[9]

Officer Date of Death Details
Private Ernest Ripley
Thursday, November 18, 1920
Private Charles M. Kackley
Wednesday, May 25, 1921
Private William L. McMillion
Tuesday, June 28, 1921
Private George A. Duling
Sunday, August 28, 1921
Gunfire (Accidental)
Private Howard A. Deem
Saturday, June 3, 1922
Automobile accident
Private James Shrewsbury
Thursday, July 12, 1923
Private Ulric C. Crawford
Friday, June 20, 1924
Private Theodore R. Meadows
Saturday, April 17, 1926
Motorcycle accident
Private James L. Lowe
Monday, June 28, 1926
Private Blake A. Michael
Sunday, May 1, 1927
Motorcycle accident
Private Arza A. Allen
Thursday, November 1, 1928
Motorcycle accident
Sergeant William Hall
Sunday, October 19, 1930
Motorcycle accident
Trooper Farley K. Litton
Friday, November 8, 1935
Motorcycle accident
Trooper Allen Henry Bennett Jeffreys
Sunday, July 16, 1939
Vehicular assault
Trooper Franklin D. Patrick
Sunday, August 27, 1939
Automobile accident
Sergeant Newton Tressel Sites
Monday, August 31, 1942
Aircraft accident
Trooper Burr White Harrison
Monday, December 3, 1945
Automobile accident
Sergeant Joseph Pierce Horne
Monday, September 9, 1946
Corporal Arthur M. Hurst
Friday, June 17, 1949
Trooper Robert F. Rulong
Monday, February 10, 1958
Vehicular assault
Corporal Harry E. Robinson
Tuesday, November 27, 1962
Automobile accident
Corporal William Joseph Shrewsbury
Saturday, September 28, 1963
Trooper Robert Ball Noechel
Monday, November 1, 1965
Trooper Hugh Donald Swartz
Monday, October 5, 1970
Trooper First Class Thomas Dean Hercules
Wednesday, January 12, 1977
Trooper Charles Henry Johnson
Wednesday, January 12, 1977
Trooper Bruce Thompson Brown
Friday, October 14, 1977
Corporal Dewey C. Shrewsbury
Wednesday, October 25, 1978
Gunfire (Accidental)
Trooper Philip S. Kesner
Wednesday, November 7, 1979
Corporal Carlen Bill Stone
Thursday, December 16, 1982
Aircraft accident
Trooper Harry G. Lucas Jr.
Wednesday, September 12, 1984
Aircraft accident
Trooper Jonathan David Harris
Thursday, July 11, 1985
Automobile accident
Trooper William Howard Phillips
Thursday, July 30, 1987
Automobile accident
Trooper First Class James Thomas Brammer
Saturday, April 15, 1989
Senior Trooper Larry Gene Hacker
Friday, April 9, 1993
Lieutenant Charles Matthew Turner
Thursday, April 4, 1996
Aircraft accident
Senior Trooper Douglas Wayne Bland
Thursday, January 19, 1999
Automobile accident
Trooper Brian W. Linn
Friday, November 2, 2007
Automobile accident

  See also


  1. ^ West Virginia State Police 2010 Annual Report
  2. ^ http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-ann-est.html 2007 Population Estimates
  3. ^ History of the West Virginia State Police http://www.wvstatepolice.com/history/history.shtml/
  4. ^ West Virginia State Police Crime Laboratory http://www.wvstatepolice.com/crime/crime.shtml/
  5. ^ West Virginia Division of Criminal Justice Services: physical ability standards http://www.wvdcjs.com/lawenforcement/training/physicalability.html/
  6. ^ West Virginia State Police physical ability standards http://www.wvstatepolice.com/employ/phyfit.pdf/
  7. ^ West Virginia State Police Annual Report. http://www.wvstatepolice.com/annreport/2010annualreport.pdf/
  8. ^ National Police Car Archives http://www.policecararchives.org/
  9. ^ [1]

  Additional references

  • State Journal (in a May 2005 article)
  • State Trooper: America's State Troopers and Highway Patrolmen (Turner Publishing Company)

  External links



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