Trouble continues as Cahill resigns amidst investigation; Justice says: ‘Our State Police did stuff that was really bad’

Lt. Col. Jack Chambers named as interim superintendent

By Matthew Young, RealWV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – After a months-long investigation into accusations of improper and potentially illegal activities on the part of the W.Va. State Police, Superintendent Jan Cahill has resigned. Cahill’s resignation was effective at 9:30 a.m. Monday. 

The announcement came in the form of a press release from Gov. Jim Justice’s office 90 minutes after Cahill’s resignation was submitted. Justice, a longtime friend of Cahill, selected the now former superintendent to head the State Police in 2017. 

At a media briefing last week, Justice said, “Jan’s (Cahill) been a friend and I hope to goodness the investigation comes in differently than I think it’s going to come in.” 

The investigation into the State Police, currently being led by Cabinet Secretary Jeff Sandy with West Virginia’s Department of Homeland Security, was prompted after an anonymous letter containing numerous allegations of wrongdoing was sent to Justice’s office. Included in those allegations were claims of unauthorized use of State Police resources, failure to properly use body cameras and GPS devices, and the video recording of cadet locker rooms. 

Cahill is named specifically in the accusation of a physical altercation which had allegedly occurred between two other State Police employees over perceived sexual impropriety. According to the letter’s author, “The incident was broken up by (former Superintendent) Col. Cahill.” The letter further alleges that Cahill had knowledge of other inappropriate behaviors, but failed to take any actions to correct them.  

After Monday’s announcement, Justice again held a media briefing to address the fallout from Cahill’s resignation, and provide an update regarding the Homeland Security investigation into the State Police which concluded on Friday.

“With the resignation of our colonel, at this point in time, we move on,” Justice said. “Very, very, very fortunately, we are filling this interim position (superintendent) with absolutely a superstar that has credibility and credentials a mile long – and that’s Jack Chambers.”

Chambers currently serves as Deputy with the Capitol Police, and has been a member of law enforcement in West Virginia for 26 years. 

“He’s a man of honor, he’ll do the right things, and we entrust upon him to absolutely do any level of rightness, clean up, or whatever it may be – we will entrust upon him to do just that,” Justice added.

Justice said that he met with Cahill early Monday morning. According to Justice, he listened “in a very respectful way,” as Cahill “went through many, many, many situations on a lot of stuff.” While Justice did not elaborate on what was specifically said, at the conclusion of their meeting, Justice told Cahill, “There is no pathway that absolutely you can remain as the Colonel of the State Police.”

“I think what happened here is just this,” Justice said. “While there surely was good, there is surely bad judgment at this point in time. Bad judgment leads to bad things.”

“I stand with and behind our police on every issue up to the point in time when it goes beyond what is right,” Justice added. “After I listened to Jan (Cahill), Jan turned to me and said, “I resigned five minutes ago, and I think we move on.” 

Justice noted that he has instructed Chambers, in partnership with Sec. Sandy, to further investigate the State Police “from top to bottom.” Justice also stated that he both anticipates and welcomes a federal investigation into the situation. 

In response to a question from reporter Steven Allen Adams regarding the potential public release of the investigation’s findings, Justice was noncommittal, saying, “It could be said that really and truly we need to move on. But really, from my standpoint, it’s (the investigation) way too incomplete.”

“From the standpoint of will the report and the investigation be kept confidential – that’s an answer for Homeland Security, and maybe not for me,” Justice added.

While Homeland Security Cabinet Secretary Jeff Sandy was present for the briefing, he did not respond to Adams’ question. RealWV will provide updates to this developing situation as additional information becomes available. 

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