Sustained Outrage

Happy Domestic Violence Prevention Day!

purple_ribbon_300.jpgToday is Domestic Violence Prevention Day at the state Legislature, and I spent a few minutes this morning dropping by the booths (journalists love free pens!) and chatting with some folks from the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

While there, I picked up a handbook published by the Coalition called “For a Safer State of Family.” Even a quick scan of the booklet provides some pretty eye-popping statistics, which bear repeating here:

And domestic violence doesn’t stop with intimate partners:

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Dunbar’s police chief: Is he or isn’t he?

In January, I reported that Dunbar Mayor Jack Yeager had reorganized the town’s police department. Former Police Chief Earl Whittington was made a shift commander, and Lt. Bill Moss would become acting police chief.

Some town residents, most notably ousted Dunbar Mayor Roger Wolfe and his supporters, cried foul. In October, a special three-judge panel appointed by the state Supreme Court ordered Wolfe removed from office for conducting city business without the approval of Dunbar City Council.

Among the illegal acts the panel of judges found was that Wolfe had repeatedly tried to push raises for his department heads through City Council, including one for Whittington. One of the attempted tactics was to reclassify Whittington and other department heads as hourly workers so he could pay them large amounts of overtime.

Department heads can’t get overtime. But Wolfe and his followers point out that Moss is getting overtime as the town’s new police chief.

Yeager, appointed to replace Wolfe in November, said Moss is only acting police chief. Even though city council voted to raise the salary of the police chief’s position in January, Yeager said Moss is still being paid as a lieutenant and a shift commander, not as chief. As a shift commander, Yeager said, Moss can still draw overtime.

Yeager said this week that Moss only serves as police chief when the mayor needs one — at council meetings or to attend conferences or meetings with other police chiefs. “When that job is over, he goes out and chases bad guys,” Yeager said earlier this week.

But Wolfe says Yeager can’t have it both ways. Moss is either police chief or he isn’t. Wolfe says the city’s charter has no provision for an acting police chief, and appointing one is illegal.

It may take a court to decide who’s right.

911 abuse

19081252.jpgResidents of Kanawha County need to get their numbers straight.

I reported today that during 2008, the Metro 911 dispatch center received more than 600,000 emergency and nonemergency calls. With only nine emergency lines at the dispatch center, it doesn’t take a lot for dispatchers to be overwhelmed by incoming calls. People within the community are abusing the 911 number and treating it more like 411, calling to get general information about things that are not categorized as emergencies, such as the correct time, a parade route, or to even ask what to do if a muskrat gets into their house.

When people do this, it ties up the dispatchers and prevents them for answering calls about heart attacks, shootings, stabbings or car accidents.

If you need help or information, and your situation is NOT an emergency, dispatchers prefer callers to use these alternate numbers instead of 911.

1). 304-348-8111

2). 304-357-0191

3). 304-744-6843 (community support)

4). 304-746-7911 (Main office, Administration)