Recently sworn-in Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady is hiring two additional sheriff's deputies to round out the sheriff's office.
The Randolph County Commission unanimously approved a request from Brady to hire two deputies New Martinsville native Joshua Williams and South Carolinian Robert Pitcher at the commission's regular meeting Thursday.
Brady said bringing Williams and Pitcher on board will up the number of officers to 10.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Katie Kuba
Randolph County Commissioner Chris See was elected commission president Thursday at the commission’s regular meeting.
"We're going to be back to about even now," Brady remarked, shortly after commissioners Joyce Johns and Chris See gave Brady the go-ahead to hire the officers.
"We're still not where we should be ideally, but that's something we're going to work on this year."
Williams, a New Martinsville police officer, will begin his stint with the sheriff's office Feb. 4 at a starting salary of $31,200. Williams has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, a Master's degree and is a certified police officer through the West Virginia State Police Academy, Brady said.
Pitcher will be a transplant from Richland County, S.C., where he was a senior deputy with the Richland County Sheriff's Office. Slated to start with the Randolph County Sheriff's Office Feb. 18, Pitcher will be making an annual salary of $29,265 until he is a W.Va. State Police Academy certified officer. Brady said that determination will be based on a review of records from the South Carolina Police Academy.
Pitcher is a certified operator of SRTs, or special response teams, and SWAT teams, Brady added; he also has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and criminology.
At the Dec. 19 commission meeting, Former Randolph County Commission President Mike Taylor indicated he would not be seeking another term as president.
Taylor was unable to attend Thursday's meeting due to medical issues.
Following the meeting, See said he was excited to be serving the people of Randolph County as commission president.
"I'm looking forward to doing it," See said. "I think we've been doing a good job the last few years and I'd like to see it going in the same direction. We all three agree we work for the county residents."
"I've got some big shoes to fill," See added, referencing Taylor, "but I'll do my best."
"Jim's first day on the job was the day of the storm (Superstorm Sandy), and he did a great job," See remarked. "He's proven himself, and I think he should be full-time director."
Wise will simultaneously maintain his position as the director of the Randolph County E-911 Center.
Earlier in the meeting, Wise reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had reimbursed Randolph County $16,229.42 for the money the county spent on emergency aid and materials during the June 29 derecho. The reimbursement will cover the cost of running generators; overtime pay for E-911 dispatchers and emergency responders; and sanitation work, including the removal of spoiled food, during the June 29 derecho, Wise said.
Pam Kwasniewski, vice president of the farm bureau, said that prior to the pilot program, which ran from Oct. 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, local farmers had lost $44,000 worth of livestock, mostly lambs and calves, as a result of coyotes.
"After the program, we were down $20,000 (in damages) in the spring (of 2012)," Kwasniewski said. "The program had a big impact."
The money will be used to set up checkpoints and buy supplies for the program, Kwasniewski said.