Questions Arise Amidst Violent Riots — Are We Prepared?
The Tyler County Commission held a regular meeting on Friday, June 12 with all members present. The meeting was called to order and began with the approval of the previous minutes, exonerations, and the fiduciary report.
Joshua Fulks, E-911 director, updated the Commission about the CityNet contract. The item was on the agenda to be approved, however, following a discussion with Tyler County Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee, Fulks reported a structural analysis needed to be completed before moving forward with the contract. According to Fulks, CityNet was requesting to put a six foot dish at 230 feet on the tower, requiring the tower to be tested to see if it could withstand the weight of the equipment. A motion was made and approved to table the item.
Next, Sheriff Brian Weigle addressed the Commission requesting permission to work with other law enforcement agencies to pursue acquiring equipment and creating action plans in the case of a riot occurring locally.
“We are not prepared by no way, shape, or form if a riot slash protest happened. I’m not against protests – don’t think that I am – but we’ve got to protect the citizens of Tyler County and Wetzel County, and we are partners in events like that,” said Weigle.
He reported he had been in contact with the New Martinsville Police Department and they were hoping to put together a trailer, or something of the sort, equipped with shields, helmets, batons, tear gas, and pepper spray to use in the case of a violent riot. “Let’s pray that it never does happen in our neighborhood, but it’s knocking on our doors. We got it in Wheeling, Parkersburg, we got it all around us,” Weigle continued.
The Commissioners agreed that although it may not happen in this area during this time, the future is uncertain. The Commission approved to allow Sheriff Weigle to pursue working with other law enforcement agencies to prepare for such an event.
Next, the Commission moved to approve to renew their contract with Global Science and Technology, Inc, as well as approve an estimate from GH services to remove trees from the Willey Property.
The discussion then arose about opening the Tyler County offices and buildings. For many months, the Courthouse and Sheriff’s Department has limited access to the public. Sheriff Weigle reported he plans to open his office on Monday, June 15. However, there will still be a limit on how many people are allowed in the office at one time, and anyone waiting for services will have to do so in the parking lot.
The Assessor’s office also plans to open on Monday, according to Assessor Lisa Jackson. She also reports there will be a limit of one person to each office, and those waiting will have to do so outside. Attorney Luke Furbee suggested the Commission rescind the original order that was put in place at the beginning of the pandemic.
The Commission approved a motion for Furbee to rewrite an order to conditionally open up the Courthouse for the Sheriff’s Office and Assessor’s Office on June 15, and the County Clerk’s Office on June 22.
Next, the Commissioners discussed hiring security officers for the Courthouse and Magistrate Office. Weigle reported he felt they should hire two full time and two part time officers. The Commission moved to give permission to the Sheriff to hire these officers. The motion was quickly approved.
Commissioner Smith also discussed meeting Cathy Post and Kathy Seago at the Tyler County Fairgrounds to discuss the locations of the County Home Memorial and the Gold Star Mothers Memorial.
Attorney Luke Furbee informed the Commission they are planning to close on the Wagner property within the next week. Furbee also suggested to have the property surveyed following the purchase of the property.
James Swiger from WYK Associates was present to present the conceptual plans for the Tyler County Courthouse. These plans included elevators, ADA compliant restrooms, and a paved parking lot. The Commissioners approved the conceptual drawing.
Following the approval of the budget revisions, and bills, the meeting was adjourned.