No. 5: Violence against WV police grabs headlines throughout the - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

No. 5: Violence against WV police grabs headlines throughout the year

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Members of West Virginia's law enforcement community spent much of 2012 in mourning.

Three officers were killed and one other was wounded in separate events in the state. 

Monongalia County Deputy Todd May was killed during a pursuit Feb. 18, 2012, near Mount Morris, Pa.

May was chasing Jerod Green, who was found guilty of third-degree murder Dec. 13. Green also was found guilty of homicide by vehicle, homicide by vehicle while DUI, fleeing and three other counts of DUI.

West Virginia State Police Cpl. Shannon Loudin was shot while in the line of duty in Elkins in May near Elkins High School.

West Virginia State Police Spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous said Dec. 20 that the agency tallies the year's injuries and fatalities in February, but 2012 had already been a tough year for the WVSP family.

"We rejoice that Cpl. A.S. Loudin was able to fully recover from his serious wounds earlier in the year, although we still grieve over the deaths of Cpl. Marshall Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman," Baylous said.

A lengthy pursuit Aug. 28 led to the deaths of Bailey and Workman after an Oak Hill man stole a vehicle and fled north on Interstate 79.

The suspect was stopped near the Wallback park-and-ride along the Interstate. The man slipped out of his handcuffs, grabbed one of the trooper's guns and shot both Bailey and Workman. The suspect also shot a tow truck driver, but that man's wounds were not life threatening. The man was eventually shot and killed by other law enforcement officers.

"We will not forget the sacrifices they made in an attempt to maintain a civil society," Baylous said. "Furthermore, we honor them by continuing to perform our duties in an exemplary manner on a daily basis."

Bailey and Workman were the first troopers who were shot and killed in the line of duty since 1993. Other troopers had died in the line of duty, but they were not shot to death.

Baylous said society can talk about the possible reasons or contributing factors for crimes against police officers or the public in general, but they must include some level of personal responsibility.

"While a majority of the folks living in West Virginia are fine, upstanding people, the fact remains that evil lurks among us," he said. "There are those among us in society who would not think twice about harming others, including police officers.

"When facing these types of people during a critical incident, we hope that our troopers revert back to their training and experience, determine a sound course of action and then respond appropriately to the immediate threat. We can only hope and pray that the course of action they choose leads to a successful outcome. May we never again have to inform a family member that their trooper died in the line of duty."

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, 72 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2011, the most recent year available. Another 53 officers died in accidents while performing their duties, and 54,774 officers were assaulted in the line of duty.

The number of officers feloniously killed in 2011 was an increase of 16 percent over 2010 when only 56 officers were killed.