Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 6, 2014

Crowder returns to District 4

PRINCETON — A Kanawha County native who decided on police work as a career path as a teenager growing up in St. Albans, has been appointed to serve as head of District 4 of the West Virginia State Police — a district that includes the Welch and Princeton detachments.

First Sgt. M.R. “Mike” Crowder of the West Virginia State Police, assumed the leadership position for the state’s two southernmost detachments on Jan. 1. A 20-year veteran trooper, Crowder most recently served five years with the State Police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations, but prior to that, had served several years stationed at the Princeton Detachment.

“I enjoy being back and being on the road,” Crowder said. “Being in Princeton ... Well, it’s good to be back. My position now is more administrative than what I did before, but there are some great veteran officers here who are familiar with the challenges we face and a newer generation of young troopers who are technology oriented and up on the latest developments there. The two groups can learn from each other.

Crowder said he was working part time in the fast food industry in St. Albans when he found out about a ride-along program through the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department. “I was only 16 years old, so my parents had to sign a release to let me go, but I was assigned to ride with Captain James Akers.” Crowder said that he really looked up to Akers. “I still do,” he said. “When I was 16, I knew law enforcement was the career for me.”

He graduated from St. Albans High School in 1989, earned his undergraduate degree from Marshall University and entered the West Virginia State Police Academy. “I graduated in 1994,” he said. “Jan. 31 will be 20 years for me since I entered the Academy.” Other members of Crowder’s cadet class with ties to the southern part of the state include Sgt. M.D. Clemons, Sgt. W.C. Tupper and Lt. Edward Hensley.

“You can always use more troopers, but we are better now with staffing than we were before,” Crowder said. “We still face diverse challenges, but drugs are still a big problem. Twenty years ago in the mid 90s, it was mostly Tylox in the South. It’s still pills and it’s mostly still injected. There’s not a huge meth problem here, but other parts of the state are seeing a meth problem and an increase in heroin. They’re getting it a whole lot cheaper than they’re getting some of these pills.”

During his prior assignment at Princeton, Crowder was known for his tenacity and persistence in pursuing investigations. He said he enjoyed his assignment in the BCI, and is looking forward to serving in District 4.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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