Philippi names interim chief

Along with a new calendar year, the City of Philippi is welcoming a new interim police chief following the recent retirement of Chief Mitch Payne.

Payne finished his last shift on Dec. 28, Philippi Mayor Jerry Mouser said recently. Payne had served as police chief at the Philippi Police Department for 12 years, Interim Police Chief Jeff Walters said.

Officials were unable to announce Payne’s reason for retiring, but Walters said Payne had been talking about retiring for a few years.

Although Walters has been named interim police chief, the position could be temporary.

He will need to apply, interview and officially be hired as chief to make his new position more permanent.

Applications for the newly available position are already coming in, officials said, adding that some interest in the position has come from outside the City.

Officials said that if Walters chooses to apply for the position, he also will be considered along with the rest of the applicants, but his status as interim police chief would not necessarily guarantee he will be selected for the position.

Hopeful to continue serving as the chief of police, Walters said he plans to apply.

“I want to make some positive changes and make us a more professional department, more accessible to our citizens” Walters said, adding that he wanted to “continue to try to solve the problems in the city of Philippi and fight crime.”

One cause of crime that Walters said he would like to focus more on is drugs in Philippi.

Formerly known as Sgt. Jeff Walters, he takes on his new responsibilities after 17 years with the Philippi Police Department.

His first day as police chief was Dec. 31.

Walters said that in 2013 he would like to see more modern equipment for the City Police, more fluent operation of tasks within the office, and a good relationship with the city administration and other departments in Barbour County.