Brooke deputies acknowledged

SPECIAL THANKS — Diane Baughman Huggins, founder of Covering the Blue, presented black and blue afghans to Brooke County Sheriff’s Deputies Nile Cline, front, and Kristen Richmond and police dog Dakota at Tuesday’s Brooke County Commission meeting. Observing from behind are, from left, Sheriff Larry Palmer and Commissioners Stacey Wise and Tim Ennis. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — Two Brooke County sheriff’s deputies and the department’s police dog were acknowledged Tuesday for their efforts.

Representatives of Covering the Blue presented black and blue afghans sewn by members of the volunteer group to Cpl. Kristen Richmond, her police dog, Dakota, and Sgt. Nile Cline.

Diane Baughman Huggins of Burgettstown, the group’s founder, said she appreciates the service of law enforcement officers everywhere and is bothered when any are injured or killed in the line of duty.

She said the sentiment is shared by the group’s 281 members throughout the U.S., who communicate via Facebook and include 23 who crochet or knit the afghans and other items for police.

Each features a thin blue line inspired by the lines painted in recent years on the streets outside law enforcement departments.

Joining Huggins was Terry Cook of Bulger, Pa., whose efforts creating the afghans were inspired by her mother, the first female police officer in Heidelberg, Pa., and grandfather, the community’s first police chief.

Huggins said many had suggested recognizing Richmond when she met her, coincidentally, a community event.

Brooke County Sheriff Larry Palmer said Richmond sustained a broken nose and fractured sinus, and Cline, ligament damage to his hand, during an altercation with a young man at Bethany College on July 29.

According to police reports, the sheriff’s department’s K-9 unit was dispatched to Bethany College after a man was seen throwing things out of a third floor window and was bleeding.

Richmond reported finding the man bleeding. She and other deputies appeared to be hallucinating as he fled from them and resisted their efforts to apprehend him.

Palmer said during the struggle, Richmond was struck in the face and Cline was bitten in the hand.

The man was charged with fleeing on foot, public intoxication, two counts of assault on an officer and three counts of destruction of property. His case is pending in Brooke County Magistrate Court.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Were invited to meet next week with staff of the West Virginia Division of Highways’ district office to discuss upcoming projects. Palmer also advised state highway officials plan to close Rockdale Road from 8 a.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Aug. 17 while crews repair a slip there. The commissioners also learned recently of plans this fall to patch Sanders Hill Road, another road discussed at recent commission meetings.

• Heard from residents of the Greens Run area who said groups of riders of all-terrain vehicles are driving on the road at night and in early morning, creating a hazard for others. State law prohibits ATVs from being driven on public roads, but Palmer said ATV riders often veer into wooded areas when spotted by his deputies. He encouraged residents to report future sightings of the riders and related information.

• Heard from Mario Boni and Mona Davis, owners of property in Archer Heights, about the proposed closing of a section of Fourth Avenue. Boni asked for the road, which exists only on paper, to be closed because it’s between two lots he owns and he wishes to clear it. He said he also wants to deter people who create a disturbance while visiting the area for its view of the Ohio River. Davis said she also wants to deter such activity, but is concerned about access to a nearby condominium owned by her husband and her, particularly in light of another anticipated road closing request. The commissioners agreed to consult their legal counsel further on the matter.

(Scott can be contacted at