The Clarksburg Chief of Police and one of his lieutenants have resigned in the face of pending federal criminal charges — and have been barred from ever working in law enforcement again.
U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II made the announcement during a 1 p.m. press conference today in the Derek W. Hotsinpiller Federal Building, Clarksburg. Also present and fielding questions was John Hambrick, Senior Supervisor/Resident Agent for the FBI's Northern West Virginia District.
Ihlenfeld explained that the actions of Goff and Smith occurred subsequent to a domestic incident that took place locally in April of this year, and to which members of the Clarksburg Police Department had responded.
Ihlenfeld stressed that the two investigations were separate from one another: One involving the domestic battery involving a city councilperson; the other involving the response by Goff and Smith to the domestic incident.
“Both men are barred from ever seeking or obtaining employment as a law enforcement officer,” he said. “Both men have also agreed to cooperative — and truthful — in the ongoing investigation of the response to this matter.”
“We weren't even informed of this meeting today,” said Council Member Gary Bowden. “How did a lot of this spread in general public, and yet no one in City Hall seemed to have been advised of anything official going on?”
“We met this morning with the City Manager and expressed our concerns about everything we were hearing — as rumors,” said Mayor Cathy Goings. “We were trying to figure out what was the truth and what was fictitious. In that process was when we found out about this meeting.”
“When there's something like this going on, there's certainly an amount of speculation that occurs among the general public,” Bowden added. “As members of City Council, we want be people to respect and trust their city government.”
Ihlenfeld noted that while the FBI and State Police are two of his office's most important partners in its efforts to fight public corruption, he said its most important partner is the public.
The U.S. Attorney credited that same public input for Tuesday's announcement.
“One of the most important things I can do as United States Attorney is to make sure that we keep our public officials honest,” Ihlenfeld said. “That might be a legislator; that might be a city council member; that might be a school board member.”
Ihlenfeld reminded those at the press conference that Tuesday's announcement represented a relatively isolated case.
“Unfortunately,” he continued. “there is always a handful of folks don't do it for the right reason. There is a long history of public corruption in our state, and we have to stay on top of that to make sure that when it does occur, those public officials are held accountable — and that we're prepared to do so.”
To help fulfill that mission, Ihlenfeld said the Public Corruption Task Force was formed in April of last year. Included in the implementation of the new task force was a Public Corruption hotline and an email address.
“We have received hundreds upon hundreds of tips from the public in the northern district for just this reason,” he said. “And that's to make sure that we hold our public officials accountable.”
Ihenfeld said the Task Force utilizes a variety of resources when conducting investigations.