Preston County Officials Propose New Satellite Office For Law En - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Preston County Officials Propose New Satellite Office For Law Enforcement After Recent Bank Robberies

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PRESTON COUNTY - Preston County officials met with representatives from West Virginia State Police, the Preston County Sheriff's Department, 911 center and school officials Monday afternoon to discuss safety measures in relation to a recent bank robbery at the WesBanco next to the Bruceton School.

School safety has become a national concern, and it's no different in Preston County. Robert and Jeanie Walsh say their grandchildren attend the Bruceton School and live nearby the WesBanco.

"They've witnessed, or been aware of, the robberies that have taken place. They get very apprehensive when they know that these robberies can occur," said Jeanie.

So the couple, who created a solution of their own by starting the North Preston Area Watch Group, came out on Monday to hear what officials had to say.

"We have been in contact with commission and the sheriff's department, requesting better police protection," said Jeanie.

"I would carry the gun if I was in the bank, but it's against the rules," said Robert.

County Commissioners met in executive session with law enforcement officers and county officials, and after an hour, a proposal was clear: a satellite office in Bruceton for the sheriff's department and state police.

"What we're wanting to get out is for the criminals to know that we're there," said commission president Craig Jennings.

"We've talked about this in the past, and I believe that now that everything's gone into place, that everything will be okay," said Sheriff Dan Loughrie of the Preston County Sheriff's Department.

Commission also proposed increasing communication between 911 officials and schools, in the event of another incident. 

"...Surveillance, license plate readers, things of that nature," said Jennings, who stressed the importance of an increased presence of law enforcement in the community and says a satellite office would further enhance that goal.

"Just in what we've been doing lately, with the officers being up there at the end of school, if we could help ease that a little bit and make the kids and the parents in that area a little more comfortable, it absolutely is worth it," said Jennings.

It's not totally what we want, but we'll take it a step at a time. It's a beginning," said Jeanie.

The new satellite office for law enforcement that would be located inside of the Bruceton Mills Town Hall. It would temporarily be located in the town's ambulance building until construction is finished on town hall.