MORGANTOWN, W.Va. Members of Monongalia and Preston County Lodge #87 of the Fraternal Order of Police have taken a vote of “no confidence for Morgantown Police Chief Eric Powell. The lodge has about 150 current and former police officers in its two-county area.

Members said Powell has held the top two positions in the department since 2017. He was appointed deputy chief in 2017 by then-chief Ed Preston and elevated to interim chief upon Preston’s retirement. He was appointed the chief of police in April 2021.

During that time, members said Powell has not undertaken any major policy in the department and has distanced himself from the department and community. Examples cited are failing to attend strategy meetings with other organizations, not participating in neighborhood meetings and events, and being absent from the department.

Members are also taking issue with comments made by Chief Powell during a case review completed by the Morgantown Civilian Police Review and Advisory Board on February 29.

In a press release, the organization said,” Chief Powell’s comments to the Review Board exemplify how out of touch and unprepared to lead
he is.”

The case review involved the trespassing arrest of a woman at the downtown Sheetz that the Morgantown Civilian Police Review and Advisory Board viewed as an “overreaction.”

According to the FOP members, Chief Powell’s response shows he is not aware of department policies and his disconnect with the organization.

1. The call for service was for three people on private property who were refusing to leave after having
been asked three times.

2. Of the responding officers, two of them were newer officers actively being trained by field training.
Officers. This caused there to be two officers present strictly for training and observation.

3. Two of the people left the property when directed to do so by responding officers. This left three.
officers trying to get the increasingly uncooperative third person to leave the property.

Members of the FOP said the case review demonstrated Powell’s lack of engagement and a missed opportunity to achieve the goal of the board, which is to help the public understand police procedures.

Further, they said Powell focused on what he called a “bullying mentality” across the board but has not addressed the issue with his officers.
through discipline, policy changes, or training.

Chief Powell could not be reached for comment.