by Ron Gregory
CHARLESTON – Thom Kirk is now the deputy secretary of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (DMAPS), while continuing as its general counsel, Secretary Jeff Sandy has announced.
Kirk is a Fairmont native whose career in law enforcement spans more than a quarter-century, and includes a term as Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police. He is also the director of the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center, which like the State Police is part of DMAPS.
Kirk is the sole deputy secretary of the Cabinet Department, as part of an ongoing restructuring of its agencies and the Office of the Secretary.
“Governor Justice wants the best of the best, and so Kirk is a natural choice as my second-in-command,” Secretary Sandy said. “His extensive achievements and experience in the public safety realm are tough to match.”
Those accomplishments include several law enforcement firsts. After years of conducting major undercover and anti-narcotics trafficking investigations for the State Police, Kirk founded its Bureau of Criminal Investigations. He led the BCI as its first commander. Kirk also created the West Virginia Intelligence Exchange at the State Police, and became the first deputy secretary of DMAPS in 1993.
He has similarly been the inaugural director of the Fusion Center since 2008. It allows federal, state and local law enforcement and homeland security-related offices to share information, expertise and other resources in the fight against terrorism, other criminal activity and all other hazards. Kirk is on the executive board of the National Fusion Center Association, a network of 78 state, regional and territorial fusion centers.
While a trooper, Kirk earned his law degree from West Virginia University’s College of Law. He went on to serve as an assistant prosecuting attorney and a special assistant U.S. attorney. He is also a graduate of FBI Executive Institute, Northwestern School of Staff and Command, Naval Post Graduate School and the Washington School of Protocol and Etiquette.
He has taught at several universities, and instructed law enforcement professionals from Maine to Florida. He has been certified as an expert witness in both federal and state courts in seven states in the areas of undercover operations, drug investigations, organized crime, police administration, behavior sciences and major case felonies.