Baumgardner Shares Memories of Time as Chief

By: Randy Yohe Email
By: Randy Yohe Email

Did you know Gene Baumgardner spent ten years as a chiropractor prior to becoming the police chief in Huntington? Even earlier, he was was a long time member of the West Virginia State Police.

Now Baumgardner is looking forward to retirement. The chief will step away from the job after his replacement is approved by city council. He has been chief for five years now.

Baumgardner says his successors biggest challenge will be getting to know the turf quickly.

"To be able to cultivate good informants and have a good drug unit, which is what he's getting," Gene Baumgardner said.

The chief says Huntington did not have a dedicated drug unit when he started. Now, he says that unit helps highlight his biggest accomplishment. He says arrests are up 81% overall and 140% in drug arrests.

But Baumgardner says his biggest disappointment is no arrest yet in the murder of four local teenagers in Huntington two years ago.

"I still have hopes, we've got new info," Baumgardner said.

Many questioned Chief Baumgardner's administrative abilities after his late arrival to the quad murder scene. Baumgardner's likeness adorned some mock wanted posters that claimed the chief spends too much time away from his desk.

"They don't understand," Baumgardner said. "A good boss doesn't work from his desk."

The Beckley native says he's enjoyed his job of leading the HPD. Now he says he'll spend his retirement taking care of his 12-year- old son and 85-year-old mother.

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