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Resolve Weirton Police ‘Issues’

Recognizing that the word “issues” has come to be synonymous with “problems” makes it clear why Weirton City Council members decided they needed an outsider to manage the police depart ment. It also will make some city residents wonder what the issues are.

On Oct. 13, Mayor Harold Miller suggested a veteran of the force, Sgt. Gerard Spencer, should be considered for chief. No one on council supported that.

During a special meeting on Wednesday, Miller recommended Weirton resident Walter Charles Kush for police chief. Council members voted unanimously to hire him.

Kush is a first sergeant with the West Virginia State Police. Though he has worked closely with the Weirton department, he has not served in it.

Both Miller and City Manager Joe DiBartolomeo recommended Kush highly. DiBartolomeo said he had discussed the matter with officials throughout the state. “They said Charlie Kush is your man,” he reported to council.

DiBartolomeo added that he believed it was important to find a new chief from outside the department’s current ranks. “We’ve had some issues. We still have issues,” the city manager explained.

He did not elaborate on the nature of problems within the department. Such reticence is not unusual among local government officials. In fairness, it needs to be noted they often have excellent reasons for not discussing personnel concerns in public.

Kush is set to retire from the State Police in early December and will begin work as police chief soon after that. With council’s support, his first priority should be taking care of whatever “issues” city officials view as serious enough to require his intervention.

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