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Wheeling Police Cruiser Referendum, 2009

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Wheeling Police Cruiser Referendum will be on a special election ballot in Ohio County. The date for the special election has not yet been set. The referendum calls for the requirement for two police officers to occupy a vehicle when on-duty be abolished.[1]

In July 2009 supporters of the referendum met the signature requirements to place the measure on the ballot and in August the Wheeling City Council voted in favor of placing the measure on the ballot.[2] However, also in August 2009 the Wheeling Fraternal Order of Police announced that they are seeking an injunction in Ohio County Circuit Court to prevent any election on the cruiser issue.[3]

A date for the voters to vote on the issue has not yet been scheduled but City Manager Robert Herron said, "The goal is to try to get the issue put before the voters in May." However, according to the city charter a special election must be held within 90 days of certifying the petition.[2]


A grand total of 2,469 signatures were submitted by referendum supporters; meeting the minimum requirement of 2,212 signatures. They were validated by the City Clerk in early August 2009.[2]

Legal challenge

Wheeling FOP president Thomas Howard said that the election should not take place because "This is an illegal petition - the signatures are invalid because they were not witnessed." Howard said he supports the right of the people to petition for a referendum but in this case the signatures were retrieved illegally. Referendum supporters, however, argue differently, they said that the signatures were witnessed and are valid. But Howard insists that the petition is illegal, he added, "There is no way all of those signatures were witnessed."[3]

See also

Additional reading