"Bringing it to the treasurer's attention was about safety, first and foremost, and completely politically neutral," Proctor said. "These officers do what they do for a living and he wanted to make sure that [Perdue] was aware there was a concern."
It's important to protect the identities of police who do undercover work, said State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous, speaking about the issue generally.
If a criminal spots an officer working undercover, those officers and anyone working with them can be in danger, he said.
"[Undercover officers] are working sensitive cases," he said. "Anybody working with them can be compromised. ... And it does affect the integrity of ongoing investigations."
Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster said police want to keep their undercover officers as incognito as possible.
"It can impact their safety, the safety of cooperating individuals, the safety of ... witnesses in general. It could compromise investigations," he said. "Sometimes its unavoidable, they [undercover officers] go to court. ... But if people know who they are, there's no question cases could be compromised."
The Troopers Association has worked with the State Police on issues but at times has supported legislation not endorsed by the department, Harris said.
Harris pointed to efforts to get State Police pay while they are on call as an example where the association and the department were on opposite sides. Troopers currently do not get paid when they are "on call" in the evenings and can get called out if needed.
Harris said there were situations where officers felt like they were transferred for going with the association and against the department in the past.
"It's pretty much like a control thing," she said. "Do they feel like they can control the association? That's the appearance. Is that what they are trying to do?"
A 2008 legislative audit of the State Police indicates that some troopers believe relocation has been used as a form of discipline, which is specifically prohibited in state code.
When asked, "Have you or do you have knowledge of a Trooper(s) being arbitrarily transferred or relocated as a form of discipline?" 21 percent of the 445 field troopers polled responded "yes."
The audit noted that the practice, if it is occurring, is against state law and may be having a negative affect on trooper moral.
"The WVSP should take immediate action to ensure that this is not occurring as well as implement safeguards at the detachment level to prevent it from occurring," the audit states.
Reach Gary Harki at gha...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.