AG Morrisey urges Morgantown officials to rethink proposed changes to police review process

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey wants council members in Morgantown to reconsider moves to reform police operations that may violate state law.

“The Office of the Attorney General is of the opinion that the Morgantown City Council does not have the legal authority to enact any municipal ordinance purporting to conduct investigations of complaints relating to members of the Morgantown Police Department,”Morrisey said,”As any such ordinance would conflict with the provisions of W.Va. Code.”

The leadership of FOP Lodge 87 has also expressed concerns the proposed ordinance that would create the Community Police & Citizens Review Committee would violate Chapter 8 of West Virginia State Code. FOP members delivered a letter council members with their concerns.

Morrisey also points to the state law that creates a Police Civil Service Commission in each city to investigate complaints against officers that could lead to disciplinary action. The state law also gives exclusive authority to the Police Civil Service Commission to appoint, promote, reinstate, remove, discharge, suspend or demote any paid police officer.

In a letter to council, Morrisey urges the elected officials to work closely with local law enforcement to develop procedure changes.

A copy of the letter is here.