The West Virginia State Police have 698 troopers, but only a dozen are black men and only one is a black woman. There also are 18 white women on the force, along with five Hispanic men and one Hispanic woman.
Col. Jay Smithers, State Police superintendent, told lawmakers at an interim meeting Monday he needs 275 more troopers to fill out his force.
In other news…
- The state Division of Corrections also is short-staffed. Corrections commissioner Jim Rubenstein told interim committee members on Monday state prisons have a 10 percent turnover rate. Most of those correctional officers quit because of burnout, caused by the high stress and long hours of the job, which is often compounded by mandatory overtime. Rubenstein said a lack of cells has turned Huttonsville Correctional Facility in Randolph County into a “nightmare” for staff, with potentially violent prisoners living in dormitory-style settings when they should be in private or semi-private cells.
- A bipartisan group of delegates and state senators joined the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, a right-wing Christian group, in their call for more abortion regulations in West Virginia.
- Larry Messina, longtime West Virginia politics and statehouse reporter for the Associated Press, soon will become spokesman of the state’s Military Affairs and Public Safety