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The West Virginia State Police Academy, located at Institute, west of Charleston, began operating in 1949. Capt. Charles W. Ray, generally regarded as the father of the academy, had unsuccessfully sought funds from State Police superintendents during the 1930s. About 1943 or 1944, Col. H. Clare Hess, who had been appointed superintendent in 1941, agreed to find the necessary funds to get the academy project under way. Ray found the hilltop location overlooking Institute, consisting of 24 acres purchased from Kanawha County for a little more than $3,200. The original appropriation of $60,000 was obtained during the administration of Colonel Hess in the 1946 legislative session, and an additional $60,000 was received under Col. William E. Burchett in 1947.

Construction began in 1948. Although Captain Ray was the first director of the academy, the building was not completed before he retired June 30, 1949. The first class to be trained at the new facility began October 2, 1949, and graduated December 10, 1949, with 20 State Police cadets. Today the academy provides training for city police and county deputy sheriffs from throughout West Virginia, as well as Division of Natural Resources officers. New state troopers are trained in the Cadet Program and later participate in annual in-service training.

The State Police Academy was extensively expanded and remodeled in the 1960s and 1970s. Building A, a new dormitory, was completed in 1969, and Building C, with additional dormitory space, offices, and a dining hall was completed in 1976. The earlier dining hall was demolished and a modern facade added to Building B, an original building, which today houses female students and a medical clinic. There are five classrooms in building A and C, and an outdoor pistol range.

This Article was written by Sharen Deitz

Last Revised on February 12, 2014

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Cite This Article

Deitz, Sharen "State Police Academy." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 12 February 2014. Web. 22 March 2018.


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