Updated: Let’s talk about Keyser’s Police force: The bad ones

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Article update at bottom of post.

Freedom. Privacy. Balance.

Dialogue: Noun - A discussion of positions or beliefs, especially between groups to resolve a disagreement.

 

In case you haven't noticed there has been an uproar in protests nationwide. Some of them are still going and some not. One of them has hit my hometown Keyser, West Virginia, county seat and arguably one of the best towns to exist. You'll have your issues, but everywhere has issues... these issues may vary.

While documenting the Black Lives Matter protest in Keyser, I discovered an opportunity to start dialogue with some officers from the police department. The video below will show you Officer Yonker's behavior, which prompted Pirate Things to seek an interview with the Keyser's Chief of Police about this specific encounter.

Pirate Things learned worrisome information about Officer Yonker. The Chief joined January of year 2020 and noted Yonker was not hired by him, but by the previous chief.

Pirate Things chose to not seek an additional interview with Officer Yonker due to the previous interaction (the video).

"I'm required to send them to a medical physician to get them completely medically clear, and also I'm required to send them to a psychologist," said Sabin, explaining two doctor signatures are required, to which Yonker does not have on file.

Officer Yonker has had negative feedback submissions regarding his on-duty behavior, but Chief Sabin explained the city does not have the budget for all his reprimands.

Keyser Chief of Police Paul L. Sabin

Keyser Chief of Police Paul L. Sabin has been with Mineral County since 2001 previously serving as Chief Deputy Sheriff. Sabin detailed his life-long twenty-eight year career in law enforcement, at one point reeling in 100 DUIs (driving under the influence) in only one year in Florida.

Sabin noted the culture shock regarding law enforcement in Mineral County, where an officer must be the detective, emergency response and animal control--all while investigating a case.

Officer Yonker is technically not recognized by Sabin. Due to the civil service code, Chief Sabin explained if he acknowledged Yonker as an employee he would be willingly violating code (due to the employment process of which Yonker went under). "I go by the book," said Sabin.

Sabin explained the complications of the code and what departments endure when dealing with an "officer" in these types of situations. Chief Sabin explained he could not verify Yonker's employment history.

Keyser Mayor Damon Tillman was unavailable for comment during the time of publication. (Updated below with Mayor's statement)

The Town of Ridgeley, WV Police Department was also unavailable during the time of publication to verify any employment with Yonker.

If anyone has any information regarding KPD Officer Yonker or any other officer, email clifford@journalfive.org. Your identity will remain anonymous if you like.

Please remember, people, Pirate Things is about freedom, privacy and balance. Do your part in keeping the peace, investigating, questioning everything, and helping each other. Thank you for reading, I hope you have a good day.

Update: Thursday 11th, 2020

"We want to be a community policing department," said Keyser Mayor Damon Tillman. "We're there for the people. They pay our officers. [...] I stand behind my chief. Officer Yonker violated that policy by not giving his name and he's in the wrong," Mayor Tillman said via phone call.

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