Application numbers not as expected for Preston County police officer

KINGWOOD — So far Kingwood isn’t getting the number of applications it expected for police officer, the temporary chief said.

“They’re not coming in quick at all. A lot slower than what I thought. I thought we would have a great number of [applications] by now,” temporary Police Chief Jim Fields told council Tuesday.

He said Kingwood is getting the “stigma” of having frequent turnover in the department. But the ad for officers didn’t appear until last week, he noted.

Applications are being accepted through May 31. Fields said he will have at least two applicants for council to interview at its next meeting.

Kingwood’s last two officers resigned last month without explanation. Council has refused to comment on the resignations. Fields was appointed temporary chief until the positions are filled.

A Freedom of Information Act request by The Dominion Post for copies of Chief Todd Nestor and Officer Felix Thorn’s resignation letters was rejected by the City of Kingwood.

The city cited an exemption from the law that says information can be withheld from the public if it is, “of a personal nature such as that kept in a personal, medical or similar file, if the public disclosure of the information would constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy, unless the public interest by clear and convincing evidence requires disclosure in this particular instance.”

In a related action Tuesday, council voted unanimously  to buy a used, 2013 Ford  cruiser from Ball Auction in Terra Alta. The $12,900 asking price is below book value, the mayor said.

The city will use $13,025 it received from its insurance for a cruiser that was totaled in an accident to pay for the vehicle, which has 80,000 miles on it. Fields and City Supervisor Bruce Pyles have checked the cruiser and approved it.

The city paid about $42,000 for its last new cruiser, City Clerk Mary Howell said.

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