Local law enforcement department responds to protests at the Capitol

PINEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – It’s a tougher dilemma than it might seem on the surface.

When a situation arises like what happened last week in the capitol, there are bound to be countless opinions. For local law enforcement departments, seeing those events happen offers a harsh reminder of the duty that they’re sworn in to do.

“They’ve got to secure whatever they’re protecting,” said Wyoming County Sheriff Bradley Ellison. “They have to protect lives. Even though the police don’t have a stance, their job is to make sure no one gets hurt, property is protected. They’re just put in the middle.”

When situations escalate like at the capitol last week, the mindset of law enforcement officers evolves as well, which is important given everything at stake.

“There’s a lot of things that go through the mind,” Ellison said. “Fear. When you have that amount of people. That few of officers. Fear, protection of our lives. Protection of the lives of what we’re doing.”

For local departments, seeing national officers having to deal with a protest of that magnitude offers an opportunity for reflection. Of the job. What it means for them, for others. Everything that could be at stake on a daily basis.

“When you see police in other jurisdictions and the things that they handle are different than the things that we handle here, we talk about it,” Ellison said. “What our feelings are. If we were there, what we would do.

“We just do what we were put there to do.”