MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — US Senator Shelley Moore Capito was in Martinsburg on Wednesday, touring the new Martinsburg Police Department headquarters and talking to some old friends. She told The Panhandle News Network, “I want to support Mayor Knowles in his new position. He’s done a great job. We’ve known each other a long time. I also want to support the chief. Law enforcment is so critical to the safety and security of Berkeley County and all across America, and it’s been a tough year for them. I am always supportive of law enforcement. I want to see where I can help.”
Her day included meetings with Chief George Swartwood as well as Mayor Kevin Knowles and a tour of the Berkeley County Day Report Center and a visit with Director Tim Czaja.
Capito said Martinsburg is laying important groundwork in battling some serious issues.
“We know the drug issue is ever present in West Virginia. I always want to check in and see how we’re doing, not just with treatment but with some of the interventions I know Martinsburg has been on the cutting edge of.”
Filling corrections officer vacancies in the state has been a focus in the legislative meetings this week, as some jails are functioning with less than half of the workforce they need.
Senator Capito said the workforce shortage is happening in all sectors but says she believes in doing “whatever it takes” to bring staffing levels up to standard.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Chief George Swartwood told Senator Capito the $14 million dollar Martinsburg Police Department and Municipal Court building had been built with no debt. The police department moved into the new headquarters October 5th but have curtailed large open house events due to the COVID-19 crisis.