HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia Governor Jim Justice told WSAZ Thursday that he would “call upon” the West Virginia National Guard and state police to help the city of Huntington deal with a growing crime problem.
In a live interview on “First Look at Four,” Justice said the Guard could use aerial surveillance and “boots on the ground” to supplement a short-staffed city police department.
“The people of this city have to know I will always have their back,” Justice said. Regarding violence in the city, “It has got to be stopped.”
Justice's announcement came merely an hour after Huntington Police gave an update on multiple shootings that have taken place in the city in the last 17 days.
The city has investigated 21 homicides so far in 2017.
"That doesn't mean setting a Humvee on every street corner," Justice said. "We can't do that because the National Guard doesn't get involved in law enforcement, but between the National Guard and the State Police, we're going to stop it. That's all there is to it."
West Virginia National Guard Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General, made the following statement on the Guard's social media:
"Governor Justice has asked that the West Virginia National Guard use its counter-narcotics support program to provide additional assistance to law enforcement agencies and leaders in the city of Huntington to address the current threats that they face. So the Guard will be providing additional technical support in the way of analytical support, as well as some aviation assets to ensure that we can provide that support work so that law enforcement agents can get out on the street and do the things that they need to do to address these existing threats."