Mineral County Commission gives green light for more court security
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The Mineral County Commission gave the green light Tuesday for the sheriff’s office to hire an additional person to provide security in the county’s busy court system.
The person hired will have additional duties, however, including serving as a compliance officer, when he or she is not needed in court.
Sheriff Jeremy Taylor had previously put in a request for the additional personnel, but the commissioners wanted further clarification on why the officer is needed and what he or she would be doing.
Chief deputy Keith Anderson met with the commissioners Tuesday to explain the situation, noting that they currently only have one security officer to cover Magistrate Court and one to cover the courthouse. At any given time court can be scheduled in Circuit Court, Magistrate Court and Family Court.
Backup is supplied as needed by the deputies, but that takes them off the road and away from other duties.
Karen Shoemaker and Tom Roy, who work in the central office at the former jail, can also fill in when needed but scheduling is often a nightmare.
Commissioner Richard Lechliter also noted that Adam Cutter, who has provided security at the front door of the main courthouse since reopening during the pandemic, has no backup and is “often there open to close without a break.”
“It would be nice to have someone floating around to be able to do that,” Anderson said.
The commissioners tossed around the idea of a part time as opposed to a full time person, and president Roger Leatherman suggested hiring a full time person to perform other duties when he’s not needed in court.
“We need to do something with these out-of-state tags,” he said of the many vehicles spotted in the county with tags that have not been transferred to West Virginia.
“I get a lot of calls asking ‘why aren’t you doing something about these out-of-state tags,” he said.
At one time, Mineral County had a compliance officer that took care of out-of-state tags and similar issues, but it has been some time since that has been addressed.
The possibility of having the person do prisoner transports was also mentioned.
“There will be plenty for the guy to do; trust me.” Anderson told them.
Later in the meeting and after discussing the issue again, commissioner Jerry Whisner made a motion to hire a full-time person for court security “and additional responsibilities,” and Lechliter seconded it.
The motion passed 3-0.