By Rachel Dove
CHARLESTON – The West Virginia State Police has concluded that to better serve the citizens of Mingo County, the Gilbert and Williamson detachments should be combined.
By pooling the two detachments’ resources and operating from Williamson, the Stafford District area would actually gain manpower hours.
“The safety and well-being of the citizens of West Virginia is a primary concern of the West Virginia State Police,” Col. C. R. “Jay” Smithers said.
“As superintendent, I am accountable for running the agency in the most efficient and effective manner possible to accomplish our mission. Combining the Williamson and Gilbert detachments makes sense, not only from a monetary standpoint but from a public safety standpoint as well. It creates scheduling flexibility and allows for easier allocation of resources to respond to the needs of individual communities.”
Delegate Harry Keith White of Mingo County, House majority leader, said the change is an efficient redirection of taxpayer money.
“I have talked about this situation at length with area officers, and they assure me that their combined efforts are the most effective way to serve and protect residents of Gilbert, Williamson and Mingo County as a whole,” White said. “Even though there won’t be a bricks-and-mortar presence in Gilbert, I am assured there will always be a strong state police presence, and that is what’s important.”
It is estimated that the cost of maintaining the Gilbert Detachment building is about $18,000 a year. The telephone number for the Gilbert Detachment will be kept and will ring into the Williamson Detachment.