Hanging Rock police officer arrested for abusing post

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 14, 2004

HANGING ROCK - A recently-hired Hanging Rock police officer is behind bars today, charged with aggravated menacing, theft in office and tampering with evidence.

Kevin Birch, 33, of Barboursville, W.Va., was lodged Monday evening in the Jackson County Jail following a two-week investigation, according to Hanging Rock Police Chief William Long.

Long said he first began investigating reports that Birch was using a department fuel card to purchase gasoline for his personal vehicle. But as the investigation continued, complaints arose about Birch's on-duty behavior. "There were outside complaints," Long said. "Basically it was abuse of power while he was on duty, dereliction of duty."

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Long said that when Birch was arrested Monday evening, he was found to have pills in his possession that were taken from the department's evidence locker. The pills had been confiscated in a recent drug case.

"There is no tolerance for this type of behavior for any law enforcement official in uniform in this department," Long said. "We've made a great turn around and we want to continue to serve the people in the way they should be served. There is no tolerance for this type of behavior."

Birch was hired approximately two-and-a-half months ago after serving on the Athalia Police Department.