CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The current and former presidents of the West Virginia Troopers Association union have both been involuntarily transferred, and a union representative wonders if it's because the group endorsed state Treasurer John Perdue instead of acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in the race for governor.
State Police officials have told union representative Elaine Harris that the two were moved because their faces were placed on a photograph on the Troopers Association website, which could compromise ongoing investigations, Harris said.
The photo is of Perdue with several state troopers.
That photo was replaced on the site with another photo with Perdue and troopers, with faces blurred out. Photos of at least one of the men appear elsewhere on the website.
"I think this sets a very dangerous precedent," Harris said of the transfers. "These are public workers and this is on their own time."
Harris said state legislators passed a law several years ago making it clear that troopers can endorse candidates.
Tomblin's office, through spokeswoman Jacqueline Proctor, would not comment Monday. Proctor said the State Police would be able to respond to questions most appropriately.
Current Troopers Association President John Smith and former president and current board member Joe Adams were both transferred out of the department's Bureau of Criminal Investigations -- the State Police detective unit -- and to patrol duty, according to numerous State Police sources. Neither State Police officials nor Harris would confirm Smith and Adams' identities.
The Troopers Association announced their support of Perdue on March 21, less than a week after new State Police Superintendent Col. Jay Smithers took over.