By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER – The Mineral County Commission recently approved the promotions of two veteran deputies and the hire of one new deputy – at the proposed cost of approximately $4,400 for uniforms and equipment.
With the proposed change in deputy rank structure – which added the supervisory position of captain – finally approved by the Mineral County Civil Service Commission after several months of discussion among the deputies and commissioners, Sheriff Craig Fraley announced recently that Sgt. J.J. Wingler has been promoted to captain and Cpl. Chris Leatherman has been promoted to the position of sergeant.
Two other deputies are currently eligible for promotion to the corporal position to replace Leatherman, but must pass a testing procedure in order to be considered.
Wingler’s and Leatherman’s promotions, which were unanimously approved by the three county commissioners, become effective on Wednesday, Sept. 1.
“After that, we’ll start the testing procedure for corporal,” Fraley said.
The commissioners also approved the hire of an additional deputy, who will also start on Sept. 1.
Fraley noted that the new hire has already completed the required training at the West Virginia State Police Academy and will thus save the county the cost of training.
He will, however, have to be uniformed and equipped,  and Fraley estimates the total cost at around $4,400.
The county just hired Deputy R. Keith Anderson earlier this month, but had most of the  equipment that he needed already on hand.
Noting that, since a new chief deputy was never hired following the resignation over a year and a half ago of Paul Sabin, County Coordinator Mike Bland asked if there was any usable equipment left over from that position that could be utilized for the new hire.
“We are not creating a new position,” he noted.
“I think Sabin might have purchased his own and took it with him,” Fraley answered.
Fraley broke the estimated equipment costs down as follows:  Uniform, $1,500; body armor, $800; handgun, $500; shotgun, $600; rifle, $800; and ammunition, $200.
“We’re scavaging everything we can, believe me,” Fraley said. “I’m pulling buckles off belts and everything.”
When asked about Wingler’s equipment, since he will be in mostly a supervisory position now, Fraley noted that the new captain “still has the canine so he’ll be out on the road at times.”
Commissioner Cindy Pyles asked Fraley how much he has in his concealed weapons account, which can be used for things like equipment and uniforms.
“If you have any money, that would help us and we’d appreciate it,” Commission President Wayne Spiggle said.
Spiggle then suggested that Fraley and Bland get together to see how much funding is available and do a budget revision in order to purchase the necessary equipment.