Berkeley County Sheriff Robert Blair (Photo: Berkeley County Commission)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — In a busy week for law enforcement in the Eastern Panhandle, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office found itself partnering with neighboring jurisdictions to investigate crime and solve a murder.

Golf Course Road Homicide

In an update to a story from early in the week, Sheriff Rob Blair says a body found in a burning field near Golf Course Road has been sent to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy, a person of interest has been identified, and the investigation is ongoing.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office has been working in conjunction with the
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the West Virginia State Police and agencies in other states in a collaborative effort to solve the homicide that occurred the night of May 6, 2024 in Berkeley County. A person of interest has been developed and is currently incarcerated in another jurisdiction on unrelated charges. Investigators are currently working with the victim’s family to get a positive identification through DNA. No names will be released at this time.
“Our investigators are working around the clock to solve this senseless crime. It is great to see numerous agencies from multiple jurisdictions working together for a common goal. The professionalism that I have seen these few days, has made me proud to lead this organization. We will have a finalization of this tragic event very soon.” Sheriff Rob Blair, Berkeley County Sheriff

Attempted Murder in Inwood

A woman was arrested Wednesday on an attempted murder charge following a large response from multiple officers from MPD and BCSD.

Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department Chief Administrative Officer Eric Burnett shared the following with the Panhandle News Network;

On Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at approximately 1130 hours, Dep. Baldridge, along with
Cpl. Price, Dep. Kolb, Dep. Webb, Sgt. Heagy, along with the West Virginia State
Police responded to McDonald Drive, Inwood, WV 25428 for a stabbing. The caller
advised that his daughter, later identified as Ms. Julia Chanclor, stabbed him in the
chest. It was learned that, Ms. Julia Chanclor had got in to an argument with the
victim. During the argument Ms. Julia Chanclor, obtained a kitchen knife that was
approximately 6 inches in length. She then used the knife to stab the victim in his
chest three (3) times causing severe injuries and then left the scene in a white in color
Lexus. The victim was transported to Inova Fairfax via helicopter and is currently in
critical condition.
At approximately 1239 hours, Officers from Martinsburg Police Department located
the suspect vehicle in front of Lowe’s on Apple Harvest Drive. MPD Officers
followed the vehicle to the area of Delmar Orchard Road where Berkeley County
Deputies were able to make a stop on the vehicle and take Ms. Julia Chanclor in to
custody without incident. Ms. Chanclor was charged with Attempted Murder.
Suspect: Chanclor, Julia, W/F 25 YOA from Inwood, WV

Cracking Down on Out of State License Plates

An issue that has irked local law enforcement for decades is receiving a renewed effort at Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Rob Blair says his office receives complaints from neighbors about out of state vehicles at homes that indicate the owners of the vehicles belong to county/state residents.

The sheriff said on Panhandle Live earlier in the week that there are exceptions that allow someone living in the county to drive a vehicle with out of state registration, but they are going after vehicle owners who don’t fall under those parameters.

From a press release this week:

Complaints are regularly received from citizens of Berkeley County and frequently
ask “What are you going to do about all of these out of state tags?” Over the past
several months, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department has teamed up with the
Berkeley County Assessor’s Office and the Berkeley County Commission to
combat and correct the enormous amount of out of state tag violators in Berkeley
County. The BC Assessor agents assigned in this program locate possible
offenders and leave a notice on their vehicle. BCSD started a team made up of
civilians and LE to work on this initiative, maintaining a database of notices and
progress made during the investigation stages. In early 2024, our deputies began
following-up with in person residential visits for open notices.
“Our primary objective is to make sure everyone is in compliance. Our last resort
is to issue a citation after all other forms of remedy have been exhausted. We
know that most of our citizens will appreciate this effort as the majority have been
in compliance with the state code. Thanks to the assessor’s office, the
commission, our staff and to the citizens who have been supporting our efforts to
combat this problem.” -Sheriff Rob Blair

BCSD Transitioning Weapons

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office began transitioning to a 9mm caliber Glock 19 pistol in October of 2018 after having the .45 ACP caliber Glock 21 pistols since 2006. This transition was finalized in January – March of 2019 when the pistols were received and assigned to the deputies. The department’s current duty weapon has been in service for approximately five (5) + years. These weapons spend the majority of their time working in an outside environment subject to the elements in addition to routine use during training and qualifications. The average rounds through the current pistols over the 5 year period to date is in excess of 4,000 rounds per pistol not including training or practice the individual Deputy would undertake on their own. 

The Department has been looking at transitioning to red dot sights for quite some time. After looking at the amount per sight, the cost to mill the current weapons to be able to allow the red dot sight to be affixed to the weapon, the turnaround time to get all these done, it was cost effective to just purchase new upgraded weapons with the sights already affixed.

The department’s current pistols are not configured to allow the addition of Red Dot Sights; the advantages of having Red Dot Sights are as follows:

Keeps the threat in focus – Red Dot Sights allow a single focal plane approach to law enforcement encounters with greater ability to positively identify a threat and act in a shorter time span. The pistol mounted Red Dot Sights allows the shooter to keep their eyes on the threat maintaining clear focus and then simply overlay the red dot onto the threat.

Increased accuracy – Red Dot Sights allow the shooter to utilize either a gross sight picture at close distances or a refined sight picture at greater distances to successfully achieve acceptable accuracy. Seeing the dot in the center of the window and placing it within the center of the target is the most optimal and accurate sight package attainable

Greater field of view – Utilizing a Red Dot Sights the shooter is able to keep both eyes open and focused on the intended threat while processing all necessary information during an engagement.

Red Dot Sights are more durable and stand up to the rigors of the law enforcement environment. This durability combined with the advantages make the decision to transition both cost effective and advantageous to the department.

The department sent out RFQ’s to various vendors and were able to identify the lowest price for the weapon with the red dot sight along with new holsters and higher quality lights that will attach to the weapons. A local grant supplied by an anonymous donor supplied the department with $86,755.00. With the buyback of the current weapons, this transition will not cost the Berkeley County Taxpayer any funds. This will include the weapon, red dot sights, holster and flashlight for each deputy plus several for future deputies.

“After research from our firearms experts, we are pleased to announce that the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department will be transitioning to the Shadow Systems XR920 9MM Firearm with red dot sights and a high lumen light. We would like to thank our local donor for the generous grant that allowed us to acquire these weapons and accessories. I am dedicated to make sure that our men and women have the best equipment available to them so that they can do their jobs safely and efficiently. — Sheriff Rob Blair