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Coleman overseeing Homeland Security agency

Mike Coleman

CHARLESTON — A decorated former correctional officer in West Virginia is leading the newest agency in the Department of Homeland Security.

Mike Coleman, who worked his way up the ranks to acting commissioner, has been appointed director of the Division of Administrative Services by Homeland Security Secretary Jeff Sandy.

Administrative Services was created in 2018 when the state consolidated the prison, jail and juvenile systems. A model for effective streamlining across state government, it handles the functions common to state agencies including human resources, payroll, recruiting, contracts and procurement and vehicle and property management in the Department of Homeland Security.

“The Division of Administrative Services provides mission support services to the Homeland Security agencies that the people of our state depend upon, frequently under some of the most trying circumstances that life can throw at them,” Coleman said. “Our vision is to provide our customer agencies and the public with a premier level of customer service so that these critical Homeland Security services can be provided as seamlessly as possible.”

Coleman began his career in public service in 1984 as a correctional officer at the former penitentiary in Moundsville.

He was among 16 officers and staff taken hostage by inmates during the New Year’s Day riot there in 1986. While all were released, three inmates were murdered by rioters during the two-day uprising.

Coleman continued to serve at Moundsville following that ordeal, earning a promotion to sergeant.

Coleman went to the state Corrections Academy where he oversaw firearms, control tactics and special operations training. Promoted to lieutenant in 1992, he was named executive assistant to the warden when the Mount Olive Correctional Complex replaced the Moundsville prison in 1995.

At Mount Olive, he helped thwart a 1999 escape attempt and was decorated for valor by Gov. Cecil Underwood.

Over the next two decades, Coleman held several leadership positions in the correctional system and at the Office of the Secretary. Gov. Jim Justice appointed him acting commissioner in 2017.

Coleman helped develop the 2018 legislation establishing the unified Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where he most recently served as one of its two deputy commissioners.

“When the director position at DAS came open, we reached out to Coleman,” said Sandy, who made the appointment last month. “In his nearly 37-year career in state government, he has developed an understanding and appreciation for how things work and how to work with others to achieve common goals. He has excellent relationships developed over many years with the leaders of other Homeland Security agencies.”

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