In support of the Active People, Healthy Nation Initiative, Smart Growth America (SGA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity announced today that Elkins Mayor Jerry Marco will be part of the second class of the Champions Institute. The Champions Institute is a program created to help motivated local elected officials equitably define, design, build, and evaluate Complete Streets in their communities. Mayor Marco was selected as one of the many local elected officials from across the United States (and its territories).
“We are pleased to welcome Mayor Marco to the second class of the Champions Institute,” said John Robert Smith, a senior policy advisor at Smart Growth America, and the former mayor of Meridian, Mississippi. “Marco’s commitment to position their hometown to become a more accessible, equitable, and economically viable community for all residents was compelling. Experts in their field will provide the mayor with valuable skills throughout the program and share their own insights in developing more activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations.”
Over the next six months, participants in the Champions Institute will attend virtual learning sessions that will make them experts in equity-based principles and train them on the fundamental steps to take to achieve Complete Streets in their community, from envisioning to implementation. Participants will also learn about best practices and challenges from across the country, as they grapple with different strategies in a collaborative and supportive peer-learning environment.
Local leaders who are selected for the Champions Institute will have the opportunity to learn from a broad array of national experts and former local elected officials in the areas of public health, policy, street design, and project implementation. At the completion of the institute’s program champions will be experts in promoting community reforms to create safer streets for all users including pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and motorists. Champions will be prepared to support plans, policies, and funding that promote the CDC’s Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Initiative of expanding activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations, in their communities.
After participants complete their work in the Champions Institute, SGA will provide continuing support to the local champions as they serve their communities. Newly minted Complete Streets Champions will act as emissaries to other local leaders, sharing their expertise and ideas to grow a network of more Complete Streets Champions across the country who will build and expand activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations across the country.
“It’s really exciting to be selected for the Champions program, because it connects directly to so many things that I’m really passionate about,” says Marco. “We want Elkins to be as walkable as possible and to be a city where pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists share the streets safely. That’s key to getting people moving more and enjoying the health and mental benefits of an active lifestyle. I can’t wait to bring what I learn back to Elkins.”
This program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. This program is designed to support the Active People, Healthy Nation initiative through developing more activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations.
Smart Growth America envisions a country where no matter where you live, or who you are, you can enjoy living in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. We empower communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize our vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity. For more information visit www.smartgrowthamerica.org.
Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Initiative is a national initiative led by CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. Increased physical activity can improve health, quality of life, and reduce health care costs. These improvements can help reduce the risk of at least 20 chronic diseases and conditions and provide effective treatment for many of these conditions. Other potential benefits include better school performance and improved military readiness. Building active and walkable communities can help support local economies, result in less air pollution, and create more cohesive communities. Learn more here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity protects the health of Americans at every stage of life by encouraging regular physical activity, good nutrition, and healthy weight. Through support of state and community partners, they provide data, programs that work, and practical tools so that Americans have the best possible chance to achieve healthier lives and avoid chronic diseases.
Smart Growth America Contact: Devin Willis, firstname.lastname@example.org
Read this on our blog: www.cityofelkinswv.com/city-blog.
Elkins, W. Va., August 11, 2021: Acting on an anonymous tip, Elkins Police Department (EPD) officers located and seized 15 marijuana plants near Wilson Lane today.
After receiving the tip, Corporal C.G. Boatwright, Corporal B.D. Tice, and Patrolmen N.G. Elbon, R.S. Goux, J.L. Rutter and R.A. Summerfield responded to a wooded area south of Wilson Lane. The officers searched the area on foot and discovered a plot where 15 marijuana plants were being grown. Officers also found gardening tools apparently stored nearby by the grower.
Officers used the tools to remove the plants and transported them to the EPD station for later transfer to and destruction by the West Virginia State Police. No suspects have been identified yet.
This is the second large marijuana-cultivation operation disrupted by EPD inside Elkins city limits since 2012.
Posing with 15 seized marijuana plants are (left to right) Patrolman R.S. Goux, Patrolman R.A. Summerfield, Corporal B.D. Tice, Corporal C.G. Boatwright, Patrolman N.G. Elbon, and Patrolman J.L. Rutter.
Elkins Police Department cruiser with 15 seized marijuana plants.
- Largest methamphetamine seizure in EPD history
- Citizen information contributed to probable cause for search warrant
While on routine patrol on River Street in Elkins this morning, EPD officers D.T. Sayre (Patrolman First Class) and N.G. Elbon (Patrolman) contacted two individuals, Eric Armstrong and Roger Ware.
After obtaining consent for a pat-down search for officer safety, EPD found Armstrong to be in possession of a firearm and a personal-use amount of a white crystalline substance consistent with methamphetamine. Arm strong was detained for further investigation. A search of his backpack found approximately 135 grams of a white crystalline substance consistent with methamphetamine.
After attempting to flee officers, Ware was also found to be in possession of a firearm, as well as a digital scale and baggies.
Based on this encounter and information about Armstrong received from the public, officers received and executed a search warrant for Armstrong’s residence in Heavener Acres, which he shares with Krystal Ann Dellagatta.
Officers contacted and detained Dellagatta at this residence. She directed officers to three safes hidden under a bed and containing additional amounts of a white crystalline substance consistent with methamphetamine. Officers also found ledgers, scales, and other items consistent with the ongoing distribution and sale of controlled substances.
Armstrong, Ware, and Dellagatta were transported to the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.
In total, this investigation resulted in the seizure of approximately 750 grams (1.7 pounds) of a crystalline substance consistent with methamphetamine and three firearms. The street value of the alleged methamphetamine is approximately $85,000.
“This is the largest methamphetamine seizure in EPD history,” says EPD Chief Travis Bennett.
From Chief Travis Bennett:
The Elkins Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies responded this morning to a report of a 4-year-old boy missing from his mother’s residence. Resources deployed for the search included K9s from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office and the W. Va. Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, as well as the EPD drone. Citizens also assisted by reporting sightings.
The child was located approximately one mile from the residence. He appeared to have suffered minor abrasions and was transported to Davis Medical Center for evaluation. The incident is under investigation by EPD.
Statement of EPD Chief Travis C. Bennett:
At approximately 2:30 p.m. today, EPD officers attempted to perform a welfare check on a male subject in the vicinity of Livingston Avenue.
A BOLO alert issued by Upshur County law enforcement had advised that someone matching this man’s description had threatened suicide in the Buckhannon area and that his current whereabouts were unknown.
Upon being approached by officers, the subject attempted to flee in a motor vehicle, driving in a reckless manner and damaging two EPD cruisers before being stopped near T-Mart, on Davis Avenue. As officers attempted to extract the subject from his vehicle, he produced a handgun, which he pointed at one officer. Officers used a TASER and baton strikes to subdue the subject. After being restrained, the subject was transported by Randolph County EMS to Davis Medical Center for evaluation.
One EPD officer received minor injuries to his hand.
Chief of Police
Elkins, W. Va., January 22, 2021: Last night’s hours-long standoff at a residence on Evans Drive in South Elkins developed after an Elkins Police Department (EPD) SWAT team attempted to serve a felony warrant on an individual suspected of making terroristic threats, said Elkins Police Department Chief Travis Bennett. After hours of negotiation attempts proved fruitless, SWAT officers made entry and discovered the building’s lone occupant dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. EPD is not confirming the decedent’s name at this point in the investigation.
“Based on intelligence and prior communications with this individual, the decision was made to follow our high-risk warrant service protocol,” said Bennett. “That includes use of our SWAT officers and the department’s MRAP vehicle, as well as a public notice to shelter in place and the evacuation of nearby residences as a precaution.”
When the operation commenced at around 6:30 p.m., EPD had ample grounds for believing that the individual named in the warrant was in possession of numerous firearms and that any arrest attempt might turn violent.
“The suspect had made it known that he was armed and ready to confront law enforcement officers with deadly force and had prepared his residence for a standoff,” said Bennett. “Once we were on scene and had evacuated the neighboring residences, we found that the suspect had indeed barricaded himself inside the house and was refusing to come out.”
Over the next several hours, officers made numerous attempts to negotiate with the individual barricaded inside the residence. Officers also attempted to force the suspect outside through the use of non-lethal chemical irritants. These attempts were met with further threats by the suspect to come outside shooting at officers and to shoot any officers who tried to come inside.
Finally, around 10:30 p.m., SWAT officers deployed flash-bang grenades and additional chemical-irritant rounds, then entered the residence.
“Upon entering, my officers observed that the suspect had installed heavy barricades and other fortifications in the house,” said Bennett. “They found the suspect deceased with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
Bennett confirmed that this was the only shot fired in the course of this incident; no shots were fired by or at law enforcement officers.
“I’m really proud of the skill and professionalism shown by all of the officers and other personnel who helped out,” he said. “I’m grateful for the assistance of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, the West Virginia State Police, the Elkins Fire Department, and Randolph County EMS.”
This is an ongoing investigation, so EPD is not able to release more information at this time.
The Elkins Police Department released the following on 1/21 at 10:51 p.m.
The shelter-in-place advisory for South Elkins has been lifted. There is no further threat to public safety related to this incident.
The Elkins Police Department has released the following advisory on 1/21 at 6:25 p.m.
Residents of the First Ward neighborhood in Elkins are advised to immediately shelter in place because of a police SWAT operation. We will announce when this order is lifted.
Elkins First Ward, AKA South Elkins.
The shelter-in-place order is for the area bounded to the west by Georgetown Road/Livingston Avenue; to the north by Twelfth Street; and to the east and south by the Tygart River. The advisory also applies to the Bridgewater neighborhood.
Until the all-clear is given, remain in your homes. Do not go outside. Stay away from windows. Do not answer your door.
We will announce when the operation concludes and the area is secure.
Chief of Police
Intervention Prevented Child’s Serious Injury or Death
Elkins, W. Va., December 21, 2020: Elkins Mayor Van Broughton will recognize three City of Elkins Sanitation Department employees for intervening to end an assault on a child in an alley near the city’s Sanitation Department building last week. The recognition ceremony, which will honor COE employees Brandon Harris, Brian Jenkins, and Zachary Ketterman, will be held in the Elkins City Hall council chamber at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
Last Friday, Harris, Jenkins, and Ketterman were working in the Sanitation Department building when they heard sounds of distress outside. Exiting the building to investigate, they saw a woman struggling with a small boy. A call to 911 around this time reported that a woman was attempting to “drown a child in a puddle.” Elkins Police Department officers raced to the scene.
Before police arrived, Harris, Jenkins, and Ketterman had separated the child from the woman, brought him inside the Sanitation Department building, and locked the doors. The child was wet and shivering, the men later told police, and his lips were blue. They dried him off and began wrapping him in articles of their own clothing to try to warm him up.
“I instructed Mr. Harris to take the child inside of my patrol car where the heat was running,” said EPD Senior Patrolman Kevin Shiflett, who was now on scene along with EPD Patrolman First Class William Butcher. “While Mr. Harris and the child got inside of the vehicle we were alerted by Mr. Ketterman and Mr. Jenkins that the female subject was back outside.”
When Butcher and Shiflett contacted the suspect, who was later identified as Catherine Briggs, she charged them and was tased before being restrained and placed under arrest. Officer Butcher took custody of Briggs while Shiflett ran back to his vehicle.
“I drove Mr. Harris and the child to the Davis Medical Center emergency department,” said Shiflett. “The child was later released. I did go and see the child on Saturday, and he appeared to be doing well, all things considered.”
Shiflett was impressed by the three Sanitation Department employees’ quick thinking and selfless actions.
“Brandon Harris showed great courage and compassion in a risky situation,” says Shiflett. “Seeing a child in danger, he didn’t hesitate to jump in and take that child to safety. I also commend Zack Ketterman and Brian Jenkins for backing him up, securing the building, and providing the child with warmth from their own coats.”
Shiflett says his investigation was further aided by Donald Huffman, an employee of a property management company that operates a nearby apartment building.
“Mr. Huffman contacted me to advise that their cameras had captured footage of the incident,” says Shiflett. “Mr. Huffman provided me with a clear video that’s really going to help make our case in court.”
The terrible incident could have turned out much worse if it hadn’t been for the intervention by Harris, Jenkins, and Ketterman.
“In a perfect world something like this would never happen at all but thank goodness it happened near three people who were so ready to help,” says Shiflett. “On behalf of myself, EPD, and the Elkins community, I want to thank all three of these men for stepping up like they did.”
Statement of EPD Chief Travis C. Bennett:
“This afternoon Elkins Police Department officers responded to the alley between S. Davis Avenue and S. Railroad Avenue for a report of a female subject attempting to drown a child in a water puddle.
“Prior to officers’ arrival, bystanders and City of Elkins Sanitation Department employees were able to pull the suspect off the child and remove the child to safety. The child was transported to Davis Medical Center by EPD.
“Officers located and arrested the suspect, identified as Catherine Briggs, near the scene of the incident. Briggs is charged with 1 count of child abuse creating serious injury or death. This incident is still under investigation and more charges are likely.”
Chief of Police