Gov. Jim Justice announced on Monday that Jan Cahill resigned from his position as Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police. Justice also announced the appointment of Jack Chambers as Interim Superintendent.
“I had Jan come over to the house earlier this morning, we sat in my driveway and talked,” Justice said during a press conference on Monday, “The first thing I told Jan was ‘Jan, there is no pathway here. There is no pathway that absolutely you can remain as the colonel of the State Police in the state of West Virginia.’”
Cahill had served as the Superintendent of the State Police since 2017, and before that was the Sheriff of Greenbrier County for two terms.
During the press conference, Justice gave details of an investigation into several incidents that occurred within the State Police, including an alleged situation where a video camera was placed in a women’s locker room and three officers later “stomped” on a thumb drive containing the video in an effort to destroy the evidence. Justice said that the officer who originally placed the camera had passed away before the video footage was allegedly attempted to be destroyed.
“Our State Police did stuff that was really bad and put a video camera in the women’s locker room,” said Justice, although he didn’t specify what year the recording incident occurred. “To me, it is absolutely not to be tolerated in any way, and we all know this.”
He went on to say, “From what I understand, one if not all, jerked the thumb drive out and started stomping on it. You can’t make this stuff up, can you? Now you have law enforcement officers destroying evidence.”
Justice said he would be telling Chambers to immediately launch an “all-out-investigation.”
Other alleged incidents that were revealed included a trooper stealing money from an individual gambling at a casino, and an incident were a man passed away after interacting with State Police on I-81 in the eastern panhandle.
“There was a man playing one of the video machines, and a state trooper close by. The man got up and an envelope that he had fell out into the seat and he went on to the restroom. There is no way to look at this other than just theft. The trooper picked it up and took the money. Any way you cut it, that money was stolen,” said Justice. He said that “we didn’t do that” when it came to an investigation. He said he is asking Chambers to look into this, “and do it properly.”
With the “loss of life incident on I-81,” Justice explained that he had seen the video of the encounter, “and it is very, very disturbing. The investigation is ongoing at this time.”
Interim Superintendent Chambers retired from the West Virginia State Police with 26 years of service, having served as Deputy Superintendent and Lieutenant Colonel.
Gov. Justice also announced a comprehensive set of actions taken to restore public trust and confidence in the West Virginia State Police.
“We’re going to clean it up, and we’re going to make it a place of honor beyond all belief,” said Justice.
An administrative investigation conducted by the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security remains active and ongoing with regard to other allegations.