Charleston West Virginia 

Monday June 14, 1993



Deaths Spur Foundation Effort

Group to buy police equipment

The death of a state trooper has spurred some private citizens to raise money to buy more safety equipment for state police.

The citizens have organized as the West Virginia State Police Safety Foundation. The group will kick of f fund-raising efforts Tuesday in a 3 p.m. press conference at Charleston's Marriott hotel.

Brenda Kirk, wife of Col. Thorn Kirk, superintendent of West Virginia State Police, is vice-president of the new non-profit group.

She said the foundation got started when Sam Huff, former player for the New York Giants and Washington Redskins who has West Virginia ties, read about the April 9 death of Trooper Larry G. Hacker.

Hacker, who worked out of the Harrisville detachment in Ritchie County, had been shot the day before while trying to settle a dispute between two neighbors.

"It came out about Hacker being shot and not wearing a bullet-proof vest," Kirk said.

Huff, who now works for corporate headquarters for the Marriott chain in Washington, D.C., started checking and found out that the state's troopers had limited safety equipment.

Huff then contacted a some Charleston residents who put the wheels in motion to set up the foundation.

Huff is president of the foundation, Kirk said.

The foundation meets legal qualifications under state law for non-profit status, which the group is waiting for, Kirk said.

She said part of the group's goal is to raise about $23,500 to buy bullet-proof vests for troopers. Troopers who have them now have purchased them on their own, she said.

The money could also be used to buy radios that troopers could use outside their cruisers. Radios they use now can only be used inside the cars, she said.

One trooper nearly died in a 1989 incident that might have been prevented if his cruiser had been equipped with a mobile radio, Kirk said.

In April of that year, Trooper J.T. Brammer was shot to death while he and Trooper Ronald J. Hicks, both of the Kingwood detachment in Preston County, were trying to serve a traffic warrant.

"Trooper Brammer was down, and he had the keys to the car," Kirk said.

"Trooper Hicks was injured. You have to have the ignition on to use the radio. He (Hicks) couldn't get to Bummer so he had to crawl and get to another house. He almost bled to death," she said.

The state po1ice budget for the upcoming year has money earmarked for 50 new cruisers that will have radios that can be used outside the vehicles, Kirk said. That leaves about 450 cruisers without the mobile radios. The radios cost about $5,600 each, she said.

So far, the foundation has raised about $1,000 in donations from private citizens, Kirk said.
"We plan to contact businesses and let them know our situation and the department's situation,"
she said.
Other items that the foundation may try to fund include secondary weapons such as pepper gas or a semi-automatic - troopers now carry only a revolver, she said.

"As the state appropriates money, it will cut our needs some," she said.

She said the group will work closely with the supplies department for state police to make sure It works to buy exactly what is needed, presenting those items as a gift.

Donations to the foundation may be made to the West Virginia Police Safety Foundation, P.O. Box 581, Winfield, W.Va. 25213.