Paden City Council Hires New Officer
Paden City Council hired a new part-time officer Monday.
The officer’s name is Ben Anderson, who will have to attend the State Police Academy in the near future.
Council discussed the necessity of hiring Anderson because officers serving on the short staffed police force have been working long hours and accruing lots of overtime. Anderson will be paid $12.50 per hour no benefits.
“I know there was worry about not having the money, but our guys right now are getting a lot of overtime and we are paying time and a half,” said Councilman Joel Davis. “It just made sense to bring on an extra officer so our present officers won’t have to work 16 hour days, which is why I made the motion to hire a part time officer.”
Councilman Bob Postlethwait added that hiring an officer is needed because of problems associated with staffing at a small department with police coverage 7 days a week. He said hiring the officer should determined by how much money council can afford to spend from its tight budget, but there would be a cost savings by paying another officer straight time instead of the other officers overtime when serving long shifts.
Anderson’s addition to the staff puts the police force a little closer to full staffing. The police department usually boasts four full-time officers and maybe a part-time officer.
In October, council suspended Police Chief Joey Richardson as he faces domestic battery charges.
Richardson’s hearing was scheduled last week in Tyler County Magistrate Court, but was rescheduled.
Mayor John “Hoppy” Hopkins said as to news about the outcome of Richardson’s fate, “We’re at the mercy of the magistrate” as to when the case will be heard.
In recent weeks, council has taken steps to fill staffing vacancies. In December, Raphe Bailes was hired as a full-time police officer. Though Bailes is new to law enforcement, he has experience with Wetzel County’s EMS and service as a firefighter with the Shirley and Middlebourne volunteer fire departments. He will attend the state Police Academy in the spring.
Bailes joins Patrolman Josh Helmick, who was hired in August and will be headed to the State Police Academy this month.
Council is hopeful that it will be able to work with the Wetzel County School Board to allow one of Paden City’s officers to become the Resource Officer in Paden City Schools. New Martinsville Police Department covers their resource officer, so it just makes sense, Davis said.
Speaking of Helmick, City Hall has plans to honor him with a Life Savers Award pin for his quick thinking when saving a baby in December.
In other business, Eric Sherrard of Thrasher Engineering gave a presentation about a possible pump station upgrade for Meadow Heights. He said a preliminary estimate of the project would be $65,000.
In related news, the pump station is fixed at Meadow Heights.
And council is looking into drainage issues in the Seventh Street and Lemon Alley area near a creek. Also, council approved spending four fall-arresters – safety harness for ladders – for about $2,000 to be used at the city’s water tanks.