MPD recognizes Citizen Police Academy graduates; council pursues grants

MORGANTOWN — The Morgantown Police Department recognized the first graduating class of the department’s Citizen’s Police Academy during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

The class consists of Austin Porter, Daniel Langdon, Pamela Kaehler, Matthew Cross, Leah Myers and Michael Alam.

“Over the past several weeks they’ve come one night a week and attended a myriad of different training sessions and they’ve learned a large variety of different topics of the police department,” Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston said.

Preston explained that the program is coordinated by Captain Matthew McCabe, along with about a dozen instructors from within the department.

He said the next academy will be held this winter.

In other city news, council authorized the city manager’s office to pursue a trio of grants, including:

A grant for $14,844 through the Department of Justice’s 2018 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant for the purchase of new police radios.

A grant through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for environmental studies tied to the Morgantown Municipal Airport runway extension project.

The federal grant would be in the amount of $791,896. It would require a five percent ($43,994) match from both the city and the state.

A grant through the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles in the amount of $110,000 for various police enforcement efforts.

Lastly, Mayor Bill Kawecki addressed a request by retired Morgantown Police Officer Debra Gordey, who previously asked the city to name its new walking bridge connecting the Deckers Creek Trail to Greenmont after PFC Frank Fidazzo, the only MPD officer to be killed in the line of duty.

Fidazzo died on June 10, 2000 from injuries sustained in a bicycle training accident.

Kawecki said the bridge has been named Kerns’ Crossing at the suggestion of the people in the neighborhoods whose work over several years helped bring the project to fruition.

“That’s what they asked for it to be,” Kawecki said. “I’m sorry, I just don’t think that’s something that’s the right of city council. We were the conduit, but these neighborhoods were the enablers. These neighborhoods caused it to happen. I think if anybody is to change the name, it should be them.”

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