County Commissioners Discuss Crime & Law Enforcement with Prosecutor and Sheriff

During their June 7th meeting, the Pocahontas County Commissioners discussed crime and law enforcement issues with County Prosecutor Terri Helmick and Sheriff Barlow. This discussion was predicated by a number of citizens complaining at the last commission meeting about quality-of-life issues in Buckeye because of late night drug activity.

Commission President Walt Helmick began the discussion by stating that while the Sheriff’s Office leads the county’s response to crime, the commission is also concerned with this. He said he will schedule a special session to address the issue in the near future, however at this meeting he wanted to bring the problem to the attention of the Prosecutor and the Sheriff.

County Prosecutor Terri Helmick said that one problem is the amount of time it takes a deputy to book and present the arrestee before a Magistrate and then deliver the prisoner to the Regional Jail, which is 75 miles away. She said it usually involves a minimum of five hours for each arrest, and sometimes a lot more. Terri said that since January 1st, there have been 40 Felony arrests and 300 misdemeanor arrests in the county, and those numbers do not include numerous juvenile arrests.

Walt Helmick remarked that maybe consideration should be given to establish a temporary or overnight holding facility in the county.

The situation was also explained to Sheriff Barlow, who said he will attend any special session set up to discuss these issues.

The commissioners approved signing a contract with Farm the Sun authorizing them to act as a real estate broker to determine if any solar energy companies might be interested in leasing a county owned site at the East Fork Industrial Park. It was acknowledged that it might not be permissible for the commission to lease their land to a private company, but this real estate brokerage contract is permissible to determine if there is interest. If there is, Rebinski said the county might establish such a solar farm there on their own, or use the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation (GVEDC) as a cutout to lease the property.  Rebinski said if the GVEDC is involved, he would like to find a way that the citizens could still profit from such a lease. County Prosecutor Terri Helmick said she would research this issue.

The commissioners, led by John Rebinski, asked David Cain to stop property maintenance on the 11 county-owned former FEMA lots in East Cass, because he felt Cain was taking too many actions, especially tree felling, without asking the commission first. The commissioners said they would like to be rid of those properties, and would consider leasing them for a nominal fee to adjoining neighbors, if that is legally permissible.

In other actions. The commissioners:

  • Approved a $26,596.54 funding request from Donna Ward to pay invoices from Becker-Morgan for the PMH HVAC and Roof Replacement Project.
  • Approved an agreement with the Records Management and Preservation Board regarding the County Clerk and Circuit Clerk grants.
  • Granted a $5,000 contribution request to the PCHS Football and Booster programs to replace the public address system at the football field. They did this despite concerns that the Board of Education does not financially support its athletic programs.
  • Authorized a re-submission of their Asset Mapping Grant application.
  • Authorized the Pocahontas County Vietnam Veterans of America to erect a Veterans Memorial on the old hospital lot in Marlinton. Norris Long said this is in honor of all veterans. He also said that Pocahontas County had the highest per-capita causality rate in Vietnam then any county nationwide.
  • Authorized Mike O’Brien to grant the request of residents of Boyd Thompson Road for a road name- change to Sunken Springs Road because of confusion with nearby Thompson Road.
  • Authorized Sheriff Barlow to fill a vacant Law Enforcement Office Assistant position by hiring Alexa Rogers at a salary of $24,960 plus full benefits, to start on June 21st.
  • Approved year end budget Revisions and Resolutions to account for unexpected increases in revenue.
  • Agreed to take possession of an unwanted vehicle from the EMS Board for the purpose of selling it for that board.

Lastly, they approved the following list of appointments to commission boards:

          Pocahontas County EMS:

                  Helen Clark, WV EMS representative three-year term expiring 06/30/25;

                  Damon Brock, Law Enforcement representative three-year term expiring 06/30/25;

                  Ryan Sparks PMH representative three-year term expiring 06/30/25;

                  Seth Morgan, Shavers Fork representative three-year term expiring 06/30/25;

          Pocahontas County Building Commission:

                  Kevin Shaw, three-year term expiring 06/30/2024;

                  Russell Felton, three-year term expiring 06/30/2025;             

          Pocahontas County 911 Advisory Board:

                Helen Clark – Emergency Medical Provider remainder three-year term

          Pocahontas County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC):

                 Jason Scotchie, PMH – Unexpired three-year term expiring 09/30/22;

                  Randy Wilfong II, Shavers Fork Fire-Rescue two-year term expiring 09/30/23;

Mike O’Brien, Office of Emergency Services – three-year term expiring 09/30/23;

Jaynell Graham, The Pocahontas Times – two-year term 09/30/23;

Christine Plumley, NRAO – two-year unexpired term expiring 09/30/23;

Shereen Bailey, Town of Durbin -unexpired three-year term expiring 09/30/23;

Wanda Wyatt, Seneca Health Services – three-year term expiring 09/30/24;

         Public Service District: 

Robert Minghini, six-year term expiring 06/30/2028;

         Board of Health: 

Delores Cutlip, five-year term expiring 06/30/2027;

         Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees: 

Donald McNeel, six-year term expiring 06/30/2028;

        Pocahontas County Historical Landmarks Commission: 

Robert Sheets, five-year term expiring 06/30/2025

        Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation:

Kendall Beverage, three-year term expiring 06/30/2025;

       Pocahontas County Farmland Protection Board:

Jennifer Rose, unaffiliated Farmer, four-year term expiring 06/30/2026


Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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