19 November 2008

W.Va. Troopers Vent in Survey

More than 360 state troopers assigned to field detachments _ about 82 percent of the in-the-field total _ responded to a questionnaire from legislative auditors about working conditions. Among the highlights, as reported by The Associated Press:

  • A majority -- 247 troopers or 68 percent of those responding -- said their areas lacked adequate police coverage at all times.
  • Nearly a fourth claimed that State Police brass impose an unofficial monthly quota for traffic warnings or citations. Several pegged that quota at 100 "contacts."
  • About 30 percent say they're punished for not meeting their quotas.
  • More than one-fifth believe troopers are arbitrarily transferred or relocated as a form of discipline, even though that's against state law.
State Police officials have responded to the audit report, agreeing with some findings but disputing the quota allegations.

Legislative auditors have posted both the survey report and an appendix of the more than 1,800 comments submitted by the responding troopers.

AP and The Charleston Gazette reported earlier on a separate audit that found spotty record-keeping and improper storage of valuables at several State Police detachment evidence rooms.

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