Photo caption: Former Del. Mike Honaker during his swearing-in ceremony, Jan. 4, 2022. (Perry Bennett | West Virginia Legislative Photography)

BY: LORI KERSEY – AUGUST 31, 2023 3:18 PM

State Del. Mike Honaker, R-Greenbrier, has resigned from the House of Delegates to be the inspector general for the state Department of Homeland Security. 

Gov. Jim Justice announced Honaker’s appointment in a new release Wednesday.

“Del. Honaker has dedicated his life to public service, and I am thrilled to announce he will be West Virginia’s new Inspector General,” Justice said in the news release. “With his extensive law enforcement background and passion for public safety, I am confident he will continue to serve our great state with honor and integrity.”

House bill 3360, passed during the 2023 legislative session, created the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Homeland Security. 

According to the bill, the office will “perform inspections, evaluations, and reviews, and provide quality control for all investigations within the department” and “investigate fraud, waste, abuse of departmental funds, and behavior in the department that threatens public safety or demonstrates negligence, incompetence, misfeasance, or malfeasance.”

The legislation sets a term of five years for the inspector general. 

Homeland Security includes the West Virginia State Police, which is the subject of federal and internal investigations and lawsuits over allegations that include a hidden camera in the women’s locker room at the State Police Academy, a man’s beating death along interstate 81 in Martinsburg, theft and allegations a woman was kidnapped and raped by a trooper

It also includes the state Division of Corrections and Rehabilitations, which is the subject of a federal class-action lawsuit over longstanding issues of overcrowding, understaffing and deferred maintenance. During a special session last month, state lawmakers passed a number of bills they hope will address jail issues, including giving pay raises to correctional officers and bonuses to non-uniformed staff members. 

Honaker was a Virginia State Trooper for 28 years and previously served in the U.S. Marine Corps. In retirement, he returned to West Virginia and was appointed Greenbrier County’s director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Greenbrier County 911 Center.  

In December 2021, Justice appointed Honaker to fill the vacancy in the 42nd district left with the resignation of Del. Barry Bruce earlier that month. 

“I am honored by the opportunity to serve West Virginia in this new capacity and I thank the governor for his confidence in me,” Honaker said in the news release. “I look forward to continuing to support the state’s public safety efforts.”

Honaker’s resignation from the House of Delegates was effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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