Pocahontas County Sheriff Wants Contract With The Town Of Marlinton For Town Law Enforcement

Marlinton, WV – After the retirement of their long time town police officer, the Marlinton Town Council voted to contract with the West Virginia State Police for law enforcement in the town. But Pocahontas County Sheriff David Jonese told the Council that his department is currently handling most of the Law Enforcement for the Town.

“There were 159 Citations of all different types for the Town of Marlinton since January 1st to the present date” says Jonese. “Of that 159, 105 of them have been handled by the Sheriff’s Department. Of the 43 Felony arrests, 29 were by the Sheriff’s Department.”

The Sheriff says they do more than just citations and arrests.

“We handle all the animal control calls, all mental hygiene calls” he says. “We’re responsible for search and rescue, county wide; we bailiff three courts. We do all sexual assault and child endangerment calls for DHHR. We provide officers for Pioneer Days, Durbin Days, Harvest Festival, and the River Race. We also like to consider ourselves as the community policing agency for this county.”

Sheriff Jonese wants to officially contract with the town for law enforcement duties. But the Council still has questions about the legality of the Sheriffs’ department enforcing town ordinances. County Prosecutor Donna Meadows gave this tentative opinion.

“I think yes and no” she says. “I’ve not found that they can, but I’ve not found that they can’t. Chapter 8 is where municipalities [code] comes from; it’s very vague.”

Meadows asked for more time to get a more complete answer. Council and the Sheriff do agree on one point – if a citizen of Marlinton or anywhere else in the county, has an emergency, call 911. The 911 Center will then dispatch the appropriate first responders, regardless of contracts or the lack thereof.

After further discussion and pending additional legal opinion, Council opted to stay with the current contract with the State Police, thru July 6th, when the contract expires.

Alan Johnson, Executive Director of the Pocahontas County Free Libraries asked the Council for Financial Support.

“I’d like to point out that there are a number of towns and cities in West Virginia that do provide support for Libraries” says Johnson. “On the second page [of a handout provided by Johnson] you can look in the 3rd column you’ll see under cities. Some of those in Greenbrier County contributed everything from a few hundred dollars to, in some cases hundreds of thousands. I’m suggesting $3,000.00. That’ll help kind of off set that fire sprinkler fee and other things that can go into our desperately needed funds.”

Council voted to give $1,500 now and left it open for additional support in the next fiscal year. They also voted to give $100.00 to Allegheny Mountain Radio to support its summer festival programming. And they voted to pay up to $2,000.00 for fireworks for the 4th of July. The fireworks money is contingent on agencies such as the Pioneer Days Committee, Chamber of Commerce and others to agree to sponsor the celebration.

In other actions, Council accepted a bid From Chicago Motor Incorporate to purchase the old town Police Car.

Council will schedule a future public meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers. The Council asks local citizens to submit questions to the Mayor who will forward them to the Corps. The Corps requests questions in advance so that they can have the correct experts on hand to address citizens’ concerns. Please submit your questions in writing to the Mayors’ office, with the Army Corps of Engineers in the subject line.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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