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Gov: State Police investigation nearing conclusion

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday his administration is close to concluding an investigation of the State Police.

“The investigation, I’m told, is going to conclude this week,” Justice said in response to a question during a briefing. “Most things, you know, take extra time. But I am told that that investigation is right on the cusp of being over.

“When that happens, and everything, I promise you — you don’t have to worry from my side — I will take immediate action; that’s all there is to it. I have absolutely tried to be respectful of others and let the investigation be completed.”

The investigation the governor referenced started with an anonymous letter that made a range of allegations about monetary and sexual actions involving troopers.

The administration began looking into the validity of the allegations after being asked about them by WCHS-TV reporter Kennie Bass.

The governor has acknowledged an investigation in recent weeks but has provided few details about specific allegations or findings.

“I have very, very, very concerning — I don’t want to say ‘grave,’ but really concerning — views about what has happened and what is going on with the State Police. Now I want us all to remember that we look upon those people — and those people run to the fire every day — and we should be admiring of those people,” Justice said.

“Right now I’m trying to hold my tongue and absolutely be professional and respectful to allow the investigation to be completed.”

Justice made reference to State Police Superintendent Jan Cahill, who has been in that role since the administration took office in 2017. Previously, Cahill had been the sheriff in Greenbrier County, where Justice has long made his home.

The original allegations did not directly implicate Cahill, but he is the top official at the agency.

“You know, Jan’s been a friend and you know I hope to goodness that the investigation comes in differently than I think it’s going to come in, but I don’t think this is going to be a good day for several folks once it’s completed,” Justice said.

Justice’s comments during a Wednesday news briefing were in response to a question by WSAZ-TV reporter Curtis Johnson. The governor returned to the issue again during the briefing’s closing remarks.

“Absolutely, we have got to put this issue to rest and to bed, and as soon as the investigation is completed, I promise you — to God above, I promise you we will act, and we will act immediately,” Justice said. “But it is only right to give the absolute time for an investigation to be completed.”