West Virginia State Police

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West Virginia State Police
Abbreviation WVSP
West Virginia State Police.png
Patch of the West Virginia State Police
Agency overview
Formed June 29, 1919; 98 years ago (1919-06-29)
Preceding agency West Virginia Department of Public Safety
Employees 1026 (as of 2016) [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 655 (as of 2016)
Civilians 371 (as of 2016)
Agency executive Jan Cahill, Colonel
Parent agency West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety
Troops 8
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 Jan Cahill with Lieutenant Colonel Dwayne Bowles and Major Vince Deeds serving under Colonel Cahill

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 State Police 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[edit]

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 27 push-ups/minute, 29 sit-ups/minute and be able to run 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in a maximum time limit of 14 minutes 53 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 25 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.


The State Police has struggled with staffing issues for many years and the problem seems to persist mainly due to lack of funding to dramatically increase the number of road troopers. As of 2013, the agency employed well above 600 sworn officers, making it de facto the largest law enforcement agency in the state.[7] The State Police is heavily relied upon to assist in many of the 55 West Virginia counties. In September 2013, news organizations started reporting a new initiative from the agency to increase manpower. The Accelerated Cadet Program targets local West Virginia police officers who want to join the State Police. Once hired, such officers would train for only 11 weeks instead of the 25 weeks normal cadets go through.

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, unlike in some states, are not part of the State Police but have their own separate agency.

Rank structure[edit]

Title Insignia
Superintendent - Colonel
US-O6 insignia.svg
Lieutenant Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
US-O4 insignia.svg
US-O3 insignia.svg
First Lieutenant
US-O2 insignia.svg
Second Lieutenant
US-O1 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 Trooper First Class Stripes.png
Senior Trooper


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

State Police vehicles are composed of a variety of makes with blue and gold colors accompanied by the agency's logo on the side front doors.[8] For many years, the agency has used Ford Crown Victorias for the road. In recent years however, State Police has phased in Chevy Impalas and the new Ford Police Interceptor and Police Interceptor Utility into its fleet. The agency also uses unmarked vehicles (usually assigned to command staff members statewide). Vehicles are mainly equipped with blue, LED, lights.


Troopers are issued the .45 ACP Smith & Wesson 4566TSW, a version of the Smith & Wesson Model 4506.[9] The West Virginia State Police issue Smith and Wesson 4566TSW is in DAO (Double Action Only) and has a bobbed hammer, some of the 4566TSW's are blued "Melonite" and other 4566TSW's are in stainless finish. Each WVSP 4566TSW has the agency name engraved as well as the shoulder patch engraved into the pistol slide as well.[10][11]

Prior to the Smith and Wesson Model 4566TSW sidearms, the West Virginia State Police carried the Smith & Wesson 4566, unlike the 4566TSW's the 4566 didn't have the tactical rail. Prior to the Model 4566 .40 S&W Smith & Wesson Model 4006. Before the Smith & Wesson 4006, the West Virginia State Police carried the Smith & Wesson Model 686 .357 magnum.


  • 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[edit]

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
  • New Martinsville Detachment
  • Wellsburg Detachment
  • West Union Detachment
  • Wheeling Detachment

Troop 2 Command - Charles Town

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

Troop 3 Command - Elkins

  • Buckhannon Detachment
  • Elkins Detachment
  • Franklin Detachment
  • Glenville Detachment
  • Marlinton Detachment
  • Parsons Detachment
  • Philippi Detachment
  • Sutton 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

  • Hamlin Detachment
  • Huntington Detachment
  • Logan Detachment
  • Madison Detachment
  • Williamson Detachment
  • Wayne 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 Parkways (WV Turnpike) Command - Beckley

  • Parkways - Beckley Parkways Detachment
  • Parkways - Charleston South Parkways Detachment
  • Parkways - Princeton Parkways Detachment

Troop 8 Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI)

Fallen officers[edit]

Since the establishment of the West Virginia State Police, 40 officers have died in the line of duty.[12]

Officer Date of Death Details
Ernest Ripley
Thursday, November 18, 1920
Charles M. Kackley
Wednesday, May 25, 1921
William L. McMillion
Tuesday, June 28, 1921
George A. Duling
Sunday, August 28, 1921
Gunfire (Accidental)
Howard A. Deem
Saturday, June 3, 1922
Automobile accident
James Shrewsbury
Thursday, July 12, 1923
Ulric C. Crawford
Friday, June 20, 1924
Theodore R. Meadows
Saturday, April 17, 1926
Motorcycle accident
James L. Lowe
Monday, June 28, 1926
Blake A. Michael
Sunday, May 1, 1927
Motorcycle accident
Arza A. Allen
Thursday, November 1, 1928
Motorcycle accident
William Hall
Sunday, October 19, 1930
Motorcycle accident
Farley K. Litton
Friday, November 8, 1935
Motorcycle accident
Allen Henry Bennett Jeffreys
Sunday, July 16, 1939
Vehicular assault
Franklin D. Patrick
Sunday, August 27, 1939
Automobile accident
Newton Tressel Sites
Monday, August 31, 1942
Aircraft accident
Burr White Harrison
Monday, December 3, 1945
Automobile accident
Joseph Pierce Horne
Monday, September 9, 1946
Arthur M. Hurst
Friday, June 17, 1949
Robert F. Rulong
Monday, February 10, 1958
Vehicular assault
Harry E. Robinson
Tuesday, November 27, 1962
Automobile accident
William Joseph Shrewsbury
Saturday, September 28, 1963
Robert Ball Noechel
Monday, November 1, 1965
Hugh Donald Swartz
Monday, October 5, 1970
Thomas Dean Hercules
Wednesday, January 12, 1977
Charles Henry Johnson
Wednesday, January 12, 1977
Bruce Thompson Brown
Friday, October 14, 1977
Dewey C. Shrewsbury
Wednesday, October 25, 1978
Gunfire (Accidental)
Philip S. Kesner
Wednesday, November 7, 1979
Carlen Bill Stone
Thursday, December 16, 1982
Aircraft accident
Harry G. Lucas Jr.
Wednesday, September 12, 1984
Aircraft accident
Jonathan David Harris
Thursday, July 11, 1985
Automobile accident
William Howard Phillips
Thursday, July 30, 1987
Automobile accident
First Class James Thomas Brammer
Saturday, April 15, 1989
Larry Gene Hacker
Friday, April 9, 1993
Charles Matthew Turner
Thursday, April 4, 1996
Aircraft accident
Douglas Wayne Bland
Thursday, January 19, 1999
Automobile accident
Brian W. Linn
Friday, November 2, 2007
Automobile accident
Marshall Lee Bailey
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Eric M. Workman
Friday, August 31, 2012

See also[edit]


  1. ^ West Virginia State Police 2016 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. ^ WOWK TV. http://www.wowktv.com/story/23447706/wv-state-police-still-in-need-of-minority-officers/
  8. ^ National Police Car Archives http://www.policecararchives.org/
  9. ^ http://www.policemag.com/channel/weapons/news/2011/08/16/west-virginia-state-police-and-wyoming-highway-patrol-adopt-s-w-pistols.aspx
  10. ^ http://i39.tinypic.com/2rqdbuw.jpg
  11. ^ https://www.gunsamerica.com/UserImages/184036/904659542/wm_8314540.jpg
  12. ^ [1]

Additional references[edit]

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

External links[edit]