KEYSER - The Mineral County Commission has called a special meeting for 5 p.m. today to discuss the proposed law enforcement levy.

From Staff Reports
KEYSER - The Mineral County Commission has called a special meeting for 5 p.m. today to discuss the proposed law enforcement levy.
The levy was originally on the agenda for the July 24 commission meeting, and although commissioners seemed favorable to the idea at that time, no decision was made whether to place the issue on the ballot for the upcoming November election.
Commission president Jerry Whisner said at the time that there is a “shortage of law enforcement staff,” and more deputies are needed “to combat the drug problem” in the county.
He said the number of officers for each shift currently amounts to two,which can really be a problem when they are investigating an incident in one end of the county and their immediate attention is needed in the opposite end.
Sheriff Jeremy Taylor said in Mineral County “there is one officer for 2,600 citizens,” naming the national average as one officer for every 1,000 citizens.
Whisner said one of his goals when elected as a county commissioner was to “have an investigator” among the law enforcement staff, while commissioner Richard Lechliter said an investigation currently can’t be completed because there is no staff for this duty.
Lechliter wanted to make clear to the county citizens that the purpose of the levy, if passed, would be to add officers, not to give raises to existing officers.
Taylor spoke to the commissioners of a goal he too had, and he explained that he would like to “split the county in half,” and officers would be designated to the northern end and additional officers would be assigned to the southern end of the county.
“Now they are running back and forth,” he said, suggesting the two areas would be named patrol districts, with two officers at each end of the county, and a fifth officer would float between the two sections of the county and “be a back-up if needed.”
Taylor said that the added revenue could make possible to have one member of the deputy staff be a member of the drug task force, and he mentioned that recent activity from the drug task force is responsible for arrests “now in federal hands.”
She added the levy will be on a separate ballot, and the last day to have the information ready for a printed ballot is Aug. 9.
The commissioners approved the necessary meeting for 5 p.m. today in the commission room at the courthouse, and it is open to the public.