West Virginia State Police
The West Virginia State Police was created in 1919 under ß15-2-1 of the West Virginia Code. The agency's structure is quasi-military utilizing a rank system and training methods similar to the U.S. Military. Detachments of officers are located throughout the state. The mission of the State Police is:
"...Statewide enforcement of criminal and traffic laws with emphasis on providing basic enforcement and citizen protection from criminal depredation throughout the state and maintaining the safety of the state's public streets, roads and highways."
Issue Area 1: The West Virginia State Police Storage Facility for Ammunition needs improved Security and Fire Protection.
The State Police operates a training Academy at Institute (near Charleston) which is responsible for training all state law enforcement officers in proper law enforcement techniques and the proper use of firearms. In order to properly train cadets and maintain the training of qualified officers, large quantities of ammunition are required. A July 20, 1999, inventory at the Academy found 800,800 rounds of pistol, rifle and shotgun ammunition stored at that location.
The building in which these rounds are stored is not secure. Keys are maintained only by three individuals but there is no record of who enters the building or what is taken out. Due to the large amount of ammunition stored, and its proximity to the community, the agency should improve security to protect the agency in case of fire or theft.
Issue Area 2: The West Virginia State Police do not Maintain Records Regarding the Use of Ammunition.
In order to train new cadets and qualify it's officers annually, the State Police regularly use large amounts of ammunition. Current inventories of ammunition at the Academy range, where the majority of ammunition is stored, indicate that 800,000 rounds are currently on hand. During Fiscal Years 1997, 1998 and 1999, $309,926 was spent on ammunition.
Despite the annual expense of over $100,000, the administration does not conduct regular inventories or maintain an up-to-date inventory of ammunition. No records are maintained regarding when and how the ammunition is used. State Police detachments of various sizes are located throughout the state, making it all the more important to have proper procedures in place to account for the distribution and use of ammunition.
Post Exit Conference
Changes: The West Virginia State Police has made significant improvements regarding the security, fire protection and inventory of ammunition.
In order to protect the safety of the public, The West Virginia State Police were allowed to remedy part of the problems found prior to the release of the report. Issues 1&2 above document the conditions as initially found. This update documents the current conditions.
The West Virginia State Police has made important changes to address safety concerns found during the initial performance evaluation field work. An alarm system was installed at the State Police Academy where the bulk of ammunition is maintained. The changes address the major issues of security and fire protection with the exception of the chemical munitions being stored in the same room as the ammunition, and the lack of a sprinkler system. It is recommended however, that other changes such as installing bars on the windows and changing the entrance be made in the longer-term improvements of the academy.