West Virginia police officer Matthew Leavitt worked at five police departments and was accused of wrongdoing many times before he assaulted two people last year. Last month, reports the Charleston (WVA) Gazette-Mail, he was sentenced to a two-year prison term for the assault. If Leavitt is the most egregious example of a local police officer being forced out of one department and then finding a job in another, he is by no means the only one.
A Sunday Gazette-Mail investigation shows that at least seven police officers now working in small towns in Kanawha or Fayette counties were fired or forced out of another department. And at least 44 municipal police officers in Kanawha or Fayette counties have worked at multiple departments since 2005. Leavitt is headed to prison, but other officers accused of misconduct are still working in law enforcement. “It used to be you wouldn’t hire a police officer with any kind of record,” said Steve Neddo, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 74. “That’s changed over the years,” he said. “You pay for what you get.”