Trespassers hold pool party in Kingwood Pool

KINGWOOD — It’s probably not a good idea to advertise a pool party on social media if you are entering the pool illegally.

Kingwood police advisor Jim Fields referred to it as “self-reporting.”

Police Chief Charlie Haney said about 2:30 a.m. June 18 and again about 12:30 a.m. June 20, two to four young people climbed over the fence into the Kingwood Pool.

“We had a major pool party,” said Parks and Recreation Supervisor Kevin Stiles, who discovered the trespasses the following days. Police also found references to the “parties” on social media.

Haney said it appeared the intruders swam and drank alcohol, leaving behind containers and damaging the fence in their entry. They did not break into the pool building or do other vandalism.

“A couple of those people were from Elkins. They had some Preston County connections,” the chief said.

Police have not yet filed complaints and are still investigating. To discourage another illegal party, Stiles said surveillance cameras that give police a live feed on their phones and computers are being installed at the pool.

And soon the city should have officers patrolling again, Haney noted.

Haney said he and Fields have narrowed the list of applicants for Kingwood officer to two. Both passed a polygraph exam and go this week for physicals and psychological exams, he said.

Fields said about a dozen people applied. Of those who made the final two, one worked for Morgantown Police and the other has experience in both Maryland and West Virginia. One will have to undergo full training at the State Police Academy, while the other only needs the three-week refresher course to be re-certified.

“I think they’re going to be excellent candidates,” Fields said. “It’s going to be somebody you can be proud of. And I think you’re looking at two guys who are going to be here for a while.”

Whomever is hired will have to sign a contract with the city, agreeing to work for one year or to repay the cost incurred sending him or her to the Academy. Council amended its personnel policy Tuesday to include the requirement.

Councilman Josh Fields brought the issue to the table, referring to similar policies in Star City and Granville. Councilman Fields said in the past some officers have left soon after the city paid for training.

Kingwood’s last two officers, Todd Nestor and Felix Thorn, resigned without explanation in April and are suing the city, saying they were forced to resign. Mayor Jean Guillot said Tuesday the city has no comment on the suit at this time.

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