"While speaking with that motorist, Mr. Alkire removed his duty weapon from its holster and, on multiple occasions, placed the weapon to his head and indicated he would kill himself. While trying to remove the clip from the weapon, the gun discharged a round into the ground," Grafton wrote.
Alkire disputes that he waved his weapon or fired it, but admits he doesn't remember what happened, according to the findings.
His father, then-Pocahontas County Sheriff Robert Alkire I, testified that he found his son wearing his shirt and gun belt later that night.
The charges on Alkire were reduced from wanton endangerment to misdemeanor brandishing a weapon as part of a plea deal where Alkire agreed not to work as an officer in Pocahontas County for one year.
After the plea deal, Alkire worked as a police officer in Ronceverte, Greenbrier County, from May 2008 to May 2010.
Also, he got counseling to help him "deal with his mental issues leading up to the incident," according to the findings.
The incident didn't come to the attention of the LET Subcommittee until The Charleston Gazette published an article on the incident in November 2009. (State lawmakers are considering a bill that would require police officers' misconduct to be reported to the subcommittee. The current version of the bill would leave the appeals process in place.)
In April 2010, the subcommittee held a hearing and voted unanimously to revoke Alkire's certification. Alkire appealed that decision.
In recommending that Alkire get his license back, Grafton said that "while Mr. Alkire's failure to take full responsibility for all of his actions as reported by other witnesses in the police report is quite troubling, it does not rise to the level of conduct or a pattern of conduct unbecoming to officer or activities that would tend to disrupt, diminish or otherwise jeopardize public trust and fidelity in law enforcement."
Federspiel rejected that finding, but also declined to uphold the subcommittee's original ruling. He suspended Alkire for two years.
"The event of Nov. 30, 2007, appears to be an aberration upon the record of Mr. Alkire and must be weighed against the substantial interest in honorable service that is represented by Mr. Alkire's record of almost 10 years in law enforcement," Federspiel said.
He can apply for recertification as a police officer after April 29, 2012.
Any agency that employs him must report any disciplinary action against him to the LET Subcommittee for the first year. After the probationary period, he would be returned to regular certified status.
Reach Gary Harki at gha...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.