A circuitous route
Walls' history as a police officer in West Virginia dates to October 2003, when he was hired as an officer in Chesapeake, according to records provided through a Freedom of Information Act request to the state Law Enforcement Training (LET) unit of the Division of Justice and Community Services.
Walls started with the 123 Basic Class, which all new city officers and sheriff's deputies take to become certified in West Virginia.
Walls didn't finish his training, however, and withdrew from the class. He was eligible to return to another class, according the information provided.
In January 2005, he was promoted to chief in Chesapeake, a position that doesn't require officers to be certified. Later that year, he left Chesapeake.
Current Chesapeake Chief Jack Ice said Walls left the department after, "two or three incidents where he got in trouble."
"There were several incidents here in Chesapeake that people took him to task on," Ice said.
In August 2006, Walls hired on as a deputy in Lincoln County. The LET unit was told that he had completed his training as a police officer in Ohio. But while Walls was trained as an officer in Ohio, he never worked in Ohio and hadn't been certified as an officer there.
Walls had been intending to complete eight core classes at the West Virginia State Police Academy, which would have granted him equivalent certification in West Virginia.
But because he wasn't officially certified in Ohio, the LET subcommittee notified Lincoln County Sheriff's Department that he had to attend the full Academy Basic Class.
Walls again tried to enter a basic class in December 2006 but "wasn't able to complete the required steps to enter the Academy" and had to quit working as a sheriff's deputy, according to the information provided by the LET unit.
Lincoln County notified LET unit that Walls had stopped working as a deputy on Jan. 9, 2007.
Walls then went back to Ohio and became certified as a police officer there. In October 2007, he was hired in Winfield. Members of the Equivalent Certification Committee, a standing committee of the LET subcommittee, approved Walls to participate in the equivalent certification training at the academy.
In January 2008, the LET subcommittee reversed the previous decision, saying Walls couldn't take the equivalent certification because state code requires that individuals who start entry-level police training in West Virginia must finish it here.
Walls stopped working as a Winfield officer in February 2008. Also that month, he won his appeal to the subcommittee, which ruled that he could finish the equivalent training and become a certified West Virginia police officer.
In May 2008 completed the eight classes for equivalent certification and was certified as a West Virginia police officer -- more than three years after first working as an officer in the state.
In July 2009, the LET unit received word that Walls had been appointed chief in Cedar Grove.
The process for becoming certified through equivalent training has since changed, said Chuck Sadler, state Law Enforcement Training coordinator. Now, anyone seeking equivalent training must attend the academy full-time for about two weeks, he said.
Reach Gary Harki at gha...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.