You would never think that a quiet and rural little place like Calhoun County West Virginia, with a population of barely 7000 and a County Seat with only one flashing red light at the main intersection, would end up being the target of a massive State Police exercise. But that is exactly what happened when at least 16 marked State Police cars with an undisclosed number of officers, and possibly more than one helicopter descended upon what is one of the poorest counties in the United States, to do a “sweep” of the entire county. The residents of Calhoun County are, as usual when it comes to anything State Police related, left in the dark as to what or why, as it is standard procedure in these parts for “Freedom of Information Requests” to be denied. Many residents found it quite disturbing that such a large group of State Police appeared at the Calhoun County barracks that morning without any warning or explanation. A lot of the smaller counties in West Virginia only have two or three police cruisers at their disposal. It stands to reason that no county sent ALL their units, so it would follow that this gathering of State Troopers represented a sizable chunk of this part of the state.
Granted there is quite an assortment of unsolved crimes in this little county. Everything from a missing dead body to an unsolved bank robbery, plus miscellaneous stolen items which had yet to be retrieved. There is an epidemic of prescription drug use, and, according to more then one State Trooper, drugs are being sold out of every other mobile home. These things certainly seem to make a plausible excuse on the surface. Except for one detail. After a full day of flooding the entire county with State Police from other counties and “searching” everywhere, no report of the results of these searches are forthcoming. No news of arrests, pot busts, stolen four wheelers recovered, no “official statements” to the media other than the words “marijuana eradication” being used. There was no other explanation of any kind, nothing. It would seem that their “marijuana eradication” efforts were a total failure.
Taking into account that, according to Calhoun County’s Trooper Starsick, the State Police coffers contained some unspent grant money, and adding in the actual lack of stated results in this county wide sweep, along with more than one eye witness account of the action, and the basic secrecy of the mission (even some county officials were in the dark), a much more sinister picture begins to take form. It would seem to anyone with eyes that what is and has been happening all along is that Calhoun County is being USED as a practice ground for police state type exercises.
We actually had the privilege of seeing some of the action first hand.
The helicopter arrived suddenly, obviously having a definite destination from the outset. It hovered and flew in circles at a disturbingly low height over the hayfield and small cow pasture for around a half hour, as well as buzzing the house several times. They were obviously looking at something very specific in the field. Then just as suddenly, two police cruisers and a Dept. of Natural Resources Jeep pulling a trailer with four wheeler aboard arrived and pulled down onto our property and our neighbor’s private driveway. This type of maneuver is generally left to the big busts, and we began to assume that they had perhaps spotted someone’s pot patch back on the neighbors ridge. But we were mistaken.
Instead, they opened the gate to our hayfield, drove in, opened the gate to the cow pasture (which could be seen in it’s entirety from the road, by the way), and all boots hit the ground. Apparently at least 2 officers walked around the small field accompanied at times by the curious and frightened milk cow. After approximately a half hour, during which time it appeared as if the helicopter pilot was looking for a way unsuccessfully to land in the field, the troopers simply got back into their vehicles and left as quickly as they came, leaving the gate open for the cow to get into the cornfield.
First of all and the most obvious indicator that this was not a drug eradication effort, the police were not on the property long enough to be actually searching for anything. Secondly, standard procedure dictates that if there had actually been anything there that they were looking for, the helicopter pilot would have seen it and called the ground units in at that time. We regularly have been targeted by “pot choppers” searching for illegal crops on a semi-annual basis for the past 25 years (sometimes they use military choppers with gunners and fly low enough to make sure everyone sees them, for intimidation purposes I suppose), and for a fact, if they do not spot anything they do NOT call in the troops. So this was a very unconventional maneuver to say the least. And at face value, one with no point what-so-ever. In a normal visit from the police, if they possess no search warrant, they ask for permission to search in a specific place for a specific thing. If they DO have a warrant, they present it. But not one officer spoke to anyone. They just created a big show of force on private property, then left. Reports from other witnesses in other areas of the county are similar.
A little history is in order. This county has been plagued with law enforcement corruption for years. And the State Police in Calhoun County work hand in hand with the State Police from neighboring Roane County regularly, so these problems extend well past the Calhoun County boundaries. Locally we’ve seen everything from the documented crime of a home confinement officer arrested for sexual abuse, to thousands of dollars worth of guns, drugs, and money coming up missing from the evidence lockers. There are documented cases of State Troopers lying on the witness stand. We’ve had several prosecuting attorneys resign because of a poor working relationship with the State Police. Media personnel has suffered a multitude of problems as well, such as being harassed, intimidated, stonewalled, arrested, and even had their camera confiscated for filming in a public location. Off the record information obtained from various whistle blowers within the legal system and the Police Department in both Roane and Calhoun Counties points to quite a bit of undocumented corruption as well, including State Police attempts at framing individuals for things they didn’t do and conspiracies to fraudulently replace missing evidence with random evidence in certain cases. Search warrants have been obtained using false evidence. People’s homes ransacked, personal property destroyed and pain pills stolen. Swat teams are called in to handle (and in one instance kill) mental patients. Some people have become targets and are harassed and jailed continuously on charges that are ultimately dropped for lack of evidence. And with no outside oversight, the State Police in these rural areas, along with help from a few “rubber-stamping” magistrates, have become astoundingly similar to high powered crime syndicates.
We read in the news on a daily basis all manner of horror stories related to the severity and growth of the police state in America. So it stands to reason that organizations like the West Virginia State Police, no longer working for the state as in the past, but now working for the Department of Homeland Security, would choose to use some of the smallest and poorest (and therefore weakest) areas for their TRAINING EXERCISES. Using “certain” predetermined individuals as targets over and over again for their practice runs.
I feel sure that we will be seeing more and more of these massive police maneuvers in the more rural and less wealthy areas all over the country in the near future. Perhaps coming to a town near you.