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Students mishandling firearms is the latest scrutiny leading to W.Va. sheriff’s resignation

Students pointing guns at each other is added to the list of grievances against the Calhoun County sheriff



By Bill Carey 
Police1 Staff  

CALHOUN COUNTY, W.Va. — A West Virginia sheriff has resigned after controversy over the sheriff allowing to mishandle firearms and point them at each other during a career day event.

Calhoun County Sheriff J. Warren Basnett submitted a letter of resignation to the Calhoun County Clerk’s Office effective April 30, WCHS reported. Basnett’s letter did not give any reasons for his departure, but the career day firearms topic is the most recent issue according to the county prosecutor. 

“The actions of the sheriff rise to the level of mal-administration, possible misfeasance, neglect of duty and incompetence,” County Prosecutor Nigel Jeffries told MetroNews earlier this week. 

Jeffries announced he was going to file a petition to begin the process to have a three-judge panel remove Basnett from office.

The sheriff’s job came into question after pictures appeared on social media recently showing students at Calhoun Middle/High School appearing to carelessly handle firearms during a career day event. The students ended up pointing the firearms at each other even though the sheriff said they were unloaded and missing firing pins.

Basnett said he was teaching the kids about firearm safety and told them not to point the weapons at each other after the incident.

Scrutiny of the career day event appears to be the prompt for Basnett’s departure and is the latest in a list of items Jefferies listed for the sheriff’s removal, WSAZ reported:

  • There are no certified deputies. All had quit for various reasons.

  • Five used cruisers were sold for $100 each in a ‘silent auction.’

  • Basnett allegedly violated civil service rules, including allegedly promoting a deputy to corporal without any of the required processes. No tests were given and others with similar experience were given a chance to even apply for the position.

  • Improper documentation of court orders being served. The prosecutor says there have been instances where it was documented that someone had been served court papers - but they never were - and vice versa.

  • Not properly providing court security.