CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin blames the recent spike in violent crime on a judicial system that releases too many repeat offenders.

Meanwhile, Mayor Goodwin’s political opponent is speaking out against her police policies. Republican candidate for mayor Lance Wolfe held a news conference Monday morning. He says the mayor has failed the city, by not hiring enough new police officers. And that police need to be more visible by walking beats, especially in high-crime areas such as the West Side.

“Amy is the Commander in Chief of this city. She owns what was created under her leadership. She owns the crime that’s in this city which is more violent than it’s been in years. The buck stops with her. This is what got me into this mayoral race in the first place,” said Lance Wolfe, (R) Candidate for Charleston Mayor.

Mayor Goodwin says the department is constantly in the process of hiring and training new officers, and that their pay has been raised from $41,000 to $55,000 during her term. She spoke after a police department press conference updating the fatal shooting of K-9 Officer Axel over the weekend, and thought the timing of her opponent’s criticism was insensitive.

“It makes me question why somebody would call a press conference on a day that I have officers, who I am standing with, who are mourning the loss of a fallen K-9. They certainly call it [politics] ‘the silly season,’ Mark, for a reason. But we have officers in mourning,” said Mayor Amy Goodwin, (D) City of Charleston.

If elected mayor, Lance Wolfe says he will do more to tear down abandoned homes, which attract crime.
He also plans to hire more police officers for foot and bike patrols.

Mayor Goodwin says her administration has torn down dozens of dangerous, abandoned structures in the city, and more are planned. She says the police department has done an excellent job under her watch.