West Virginia State Police Superintendent Jack Chambers announced Wednesday that federal and internal investigations are underway into a hidden camera in the women’s locker room of the State Police academy. (Lexi Browning | West Virginia Watch)
The head of the West Virginia State Police said Wednesday federal and internal investigations are underway into a hidden camera in the women’s locker room of the State Police academy.
“Both of those [investigations] are in action now, and are active,” Superintendent Jack Chambers said during Gov. Jim Justice’s weekly press briefing.
Chambers was appointed interim superintendent in March. Justice announced Wednesday Chambers has been appointed superintendent.
Former superintendent Jan Cahill left the State Police in March amid allegations against the agency that included theft, the hidden camera, and the death of a man in a struggle with troopers along Interstate 81. Justice spoke about the allegations during a press conference in March.
Another woman has also filed a lawsuit against a trooper, alleging she was drugged, kidnapped and raped by the trooper
In lawsuits, women allege they were filmed at the academy without their knowledge. Chambers said the State Police sent an apology letter to women who may have been “victimized by the hidden camera at the locker room.” Chambers said the agency has been notified of 70 or 71 women that may have been filmed by the camera.
In response to the hidden camera, Chambers said the agency is replacing all cameras at the State Police Academy with 60 “top-of-the-line” cameras in common areas of the academy, as well as installing an access control system.
An in-house female staff member has been assigned to the academy’s barracks, he said, and an official now meets with all female staff members before and after their training.
“Our academy is not completely broke,” Chambers said. “Some would think so. It is not.”
Since he became interim superintendent, Chambers said he has “separated employment” with four troopers “that were failing to meet the standard and the expectation of the state police.”
Also Wednesday, Justice said Jeff Sandy, cabinet secretary for the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security, will retire effective July 31.
“Jeff Sandy has done an amazing job as Secretary of Homeland Security,” Justice said in a news release. “He’s an honorable man who’s helped my administration in countless ways, and we will greatly miss his tireless work. I can never thank him enough for his service these past seven years and I wish him the absolute best in his retirement.”
Sandy is a Wood County native and former Wood County sheriff. He worked 25 years as a special agent with the U.S. Treasury’s Criminal Investigation Division and is a certified fraud examiner and a certified anti-money laundering specialist, according to the governor’s office.
He also worked in Iraq on counter-terrorism missions and to trace Saddam Hussein’s hidden assets to keep them from being used by terrorists, the governor’s office said.
In his time as cabinet secretary, Sandy oversaw the reorganization of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety as the Department of Homeland Security in 2020 and the consolidation of our jails, prisons, and juvenile centers into one unit, the governor’s office said.
Sandy’s replacement will be Putnam County Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia, effective Aug. 1. Sorsaia was first elected to prosecutor in 1996 and before that, started his career as assistant county prosecutor in 1988. He’s in his fifth term as prosecutor.
“Mark is incredibly qualified to take the helm of this important agency, and I look forward to working closely with him,” Justice said in the news release.
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