By Cassady Rosenblum
The Parsons Detachment of the West Virginia State Police have a new leader in Tucker County: Sergeant Victor Pyles. Pyles, who is originally from Wymer and lives in Randolph County with his wife and two children, began his new role in Parsons on September 11. So far, Pyles said, he is getting used to the new responsibility and new paperwork that comes with being a sergeant. “It’s a little different when the wheel is in your hands,” he said.
Pyles joined the force in 2008, and was previously stationed in Kanawha, Clay, and Upshur counties. Compared to some, Pyles said, “Tucker County is not known for being particularly crime-ridden. We are lucky to not have the same drug problem as Randolph does…at least it’s not as in your face.”
Already, some serious crimes have crossed Pyles’ desk. On October 1, Pyles’ colleague, Trooper J.J. Cornelius, took 46-year-old Jeffrey Allen Burnham of Cumberland, Md. into custody at The Billy Motel in Davis. Burnham is accused of killing a family friend, stealing her car, then driving to his brother’s house in Ellicott City, Md, where he killed both his brother and sister-in-law. According to police documents filed in Howard County, Burnham believed his brother, a pharmacist, was part of a government conspiracy to kill people with COVID-19 vaccines.
Mostly though, said Sgt. Pyles, he expects to respond to domestic disputes and car wrecks. His biggest challenge is manpower. Other than himself, there are only three road troopers in Tucker County, who mostly work on staggered shifts.
Pyles added that because of recent “stigma toward law enforcement,” fewer and fewer people seem to want to become police officers. Even in rural places, said Pyles, where attitudes toward police are generally more favorable, recruitment has been a major challenge. Still, said Pyles, a trooper can earn upwards of $50,000 a year by working overtime. Anyone interested in becoming a trooper should contact his office, which in general, he said, has an open door policy. “We’re here to help as best we can,” Pyles said. “If anyone has issues, come in and talk. We’ll see if we can fix it.”