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War in Iraq would pull troopers off W.Va. jobs

SHARE War in Iraq would pull troopers off W.Va. jobs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — When a Tennessee man sped through all three tollbooths on the West Virginia Turnpike, he drove more than 75 miles before any state troopers were available to pursue him.

The delay demonstrates the severe shortage of troopers in West Virginia's state police force. It's a shortfall that could get much worse if 51 troopers who also are Army, Coast Guard and National Guard reserves get called for duty in a war against Iraq, State Police Superintendent Howard Hill said Monday.

Law enforcement agencies nationwide may also feel the squeeze.

"The effects of a (reservist) call-up would be devastating," Hill said, noting that he could lose 9 percent of his uniformed forces.

"We're already affected in all areas," said Hill, himself a National Guard reservist. "Our lab is behind. The interstate system is basically bare (of troopers). I hope we never go to war for a lot of reasons, but that's a big one."