Lewis County Sheriff Adam Gissy and Weston Police Chief Josh Thomas joined forces with Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory, and Weston State Police Detachment Commander Sgt. L.C. Carpenter to hold a press conference at the Lewis County Judicial Annex to announce the creation of a new multi-county drug and violent crime unit on Wednesday, April 5.
The Mountain Lakes Drug and Violent Crime United will include the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department (LCSD), the Weston Police Department (WPD), the West Virginia State Police (WVSP), the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department, Buckhannon Police Department, and the Braxton County Sheriff’s Department.
The unit will also have assistance from several federal agencies including Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the Internal Revenue Service. Gissy notes that the federal agencies will not provide full-time members to the unit, but will provide assistance.
LCSD will providing one full-time officer, and the Weston Police Department will provide an officer, who, according to Thomas, will work the majority of his hours with the unit, but will also still patrol.
Gissy noted that most of the local agencies are small and that working together will allow to more effectively combat the drug problem plaguing the region.
“By forming this task force we’re able to focus a great deal of attention on the illegal drug trade,’ Gissy said of the unit.
Thomas noted that the sharing of resources within the Mountain Lakes Drug and Violent Crime Unit will allow smaller agencies to better combat the drug problems in the surrounding region.
“The drug epidemic is devastating to our community. Anybody that doesn’t believe that has their head in the sand,” said Carpenter.
Carpenter also noted that we live in an increasingly mobile society saying, “When I first started [law enforcement] you didn’t have a lot of crossing [jurisdictional] lines. People kind of stayed where they were. Now that’s no longer true, they’ll travel to county after county after county to peddle their poison.”
Gregory noted that departments from around the region already worked together saying, “We’ve long had a good working relationship with all of our surrounding agencies.”
Gregory added that drug problems are not confined to a single jurisdiction.