Three days later a memorandum was issued by State Police Capt. T.D. Bradley regarding "Officer safety aspects with the upcoming election of Board Members to the Troopers Association."
The Gazette obtained a copy of the memo on Monday. According to the memo, any members of the Bureau of Criminal Investigations who are elected to the Troopers Association board cannot hold a leadership role in the group unless they to transfer to a uniformed position.
"This officer will request no photos of BCI members be placed in any Troopers Association documentation," the letter states. "This officer has spoken to the current president of the Troopers Association who also agrees that this policy would help ensure the safety of undercover officers and operations."
In a statement released Monday, Smithers said the men were transferred to protect the public and other troopers.
"It is common practice to transfer troopers within the West Virginia State Police. Some transfers occur in an effort to meet operational needs; however, in certain instances, it may be necessary to affect a transfer in the interest of being practical and safe," Smithers said in the release.
"It is imperative that the administration ... continually consider the best interest of all personnel and take appropriate actions without judgment and with confidence for the most successful outcome. I am always willing to discuss this situation with the appropriate parties, however, this is a personnel matter and those parameters must be respected."
The faces of Smith and Adams were blurred out of the photograph when State Police raised concerns, Harris said -- although, she noted, there is no policy in the State Police regarding photographs at all, Harris said.
"If this matter was truly about officer safety and protecting BCI officers, then obscuring their faces in the photos would have solved the problem," Harris said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this isn't about protecting identities, it seems to be about politics and retribution."
Reach Gary Harki at gha...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.