TWO Belmont County veteran police officers were sworn in, along with three Jefferson County police officers, as part of the Mountain State Fugitive Task Force.
Tim Starkey and Richard "Dickie" Flanagan, both of Belmont County, were sworn in. As part of the Mountain State Fugitive Task Force, these officers are able to cross state lines to pursue criminals.
The head of the Mountain State Fugitive Task Force is Chad Simpson who has worked with both Starkey and Flanagan in the past at local police departments.
"This gives us a little more jurisdiction and federal resources in trying to catch these people, mainly the violent ones," said Starkey. "Chad (Simpson) worked with both of us when he first began in law enforcement, he worked Bellaire and Martins Ferry."
Starkey, much like Flanagan, was approached by Simpson a year and a half ago to see if he would be interested in pursuing this. Both Starkey and Flanagan have been working with Simpson sharing information before being sworn in.
"(I took this opportunity) because it will be good on a resume, it's a great experience and more training. There will be more resources available to me for doing drug investigation and getting these people has warrants out on them for drugs. This is just something that I enjoy doing," said Starkey, who has been in law enforcement since 1992 and has worked at both Bellaire and Martins Ferry Police Department. "I'm glad this happened, it took a long time for this to come just because of this being in two different areas, this is combining us, which I think will make a stronger unit and help us to catch these people."
Much like Starkey, Flanagan who has been in law enforcement for nearly 25 years, is glad to finally see this project come to light.
"As far as a cop, this is the highest you can actually go as being a cop is with the US Marshal. It's the epitome of being a cop, I mean, they are the oldest law enforcement agency in the country, so it is pretty exciting but for Starkey and I, this isn't our first go around being federally deputized," said Flanagan.
Both have been deputized with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), but they only had jurisdiction where ever that case had taken them, now with the Mountain State Fugitive Task Force, now they can go anywhere to chase criminals.
According to Flanagan, he jumped at this chance because he is never going to have this opportunity again.
"It really is an honor to be deputized with the US Marshals," said Flanagan. "We will see where this takes us."
Van Dyne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.