CHARLESTON– Governor Jim Justice is saluting the West Virginia Capitol Police and its leadership after record crowds gathered safely during the recent legislative session.
Governor Justice has issued Certificates of Recognition to Capitol Police Director Kevin Foreman and Deputy Director Jack Chambers. Chief of Staff Mike Hall presented the honors during a Wednesday ceremony at the State Capitol.
The awards commend Foreman and Chambers “for outstanding and dedicated commitment in keeping both state employees and the public safe during the trying events that have taken place at the Capitol over the past several months.”
During a portion of the 60-day regular session of the Legislature, the Capitol saw daily crowds that routinely exceeded 5,000 visitors. On one Friday, the visitors entering through the building’s two Directed Public Access Points over the course of that day topped 7,000.
Crowds on another day during this period swelled to nearly 6,700 people, and were concentrated in a way that prompted safety concerns from both Capitol Police and the State Fire Marshal’s Office. As a result, the Public Access Points were closed for two hours before resuming operations.
Foreman recounted how Capitol Police officers worked 12- to 15-hour shifts for six or more consecutive days during the session gatherings.
“We had guys working six and seven hours without breaks, on their feet, and I never heard the first complaint from any of them,” Director Foreman said.
Throughout these massive daily gatherings, Foreman and Chambers met and kept in touch with the organizers. As the leaders of the Capitol Police, they have made it their practice to seek dialogue with participants ahead of and during on-campus events. Their goal is to ensure a safe and trouble-free environment as citizens assemble at the seat of their state government.
Organizers and legislators alike applauded Capitol Police for this approach and their service after the session crowds resulted in no arrests, property damage, disturbances or other incidents.
“We very much appreciate Governor Justice and the Chief of Staff recognizing the hard work of the men and women of this organization,” Director Foreman said after Wednesday’s ceremony. “They’re the ones who do it. We’ve just set them up, hopefully, to where they can be successful.”
Capitol Police, also known as the Division of Protective Services, is part of the Cabinet Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. It fields 30 fully certified law enforcement officers as well as civilian support staff and other personnel. The Capitol Police oversee the safety and security of the State Capitol and its campus as well as other state government properties.