MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia Attorney General responded to the Morgantown City Council’s proposed police review board.
On Thursday, West Virginia State Attorney Patrick Morrisey sent a letter informing Morgantown Council Members that a police reform ordinance would violate state law.
In Morrisey’s letter, he explained how state law requires complaints against a police officer and other related matters to be investigated by the city’s “Police Civil Service Commission.”
“It remains the opinion of the office of the attorney general that the Morgantown City Council does not have the legal authority to enact any municipal ordinance purporting to conduct investigations or hearings in connection with complaints relating to members of the Morgantown police department,” explained Attorney General Morrisey.
Morgantown’s Deputy Mayor Rachel Fetty stated the police review board has two purposes. The first being the advisory purpose and the second being the investigative purpose. Fetty explained how the advisory purpose is where civilians could look at the investigative procedures of the department.
“They could look at the way officers are trained, described Fetty. “They could look at the way’s officers are equipped. They can look at some of the policies and proceeders that are in place for review of certain kinds of challenges an officer may face.”
Fetty also stated that the attorney general letter primarily addressed the investigative purpose.
“We will do our best to see how we can address the attorney general concerns while doing our best to upload the commitment that we made to our residents and our employees.”
The committee now plans to come together again in the future to look at Attorney General Morrisey’s recommendations.
“I hope this opinion persuades the council to take no action in this matter that would violate West Virginia law,” said Attorney General Morrisey.
The full letter can be read, here.