Pocahontas Sheriffs Auxiliary Force To Expand

Marlinton, WV – Pocahontas County Sheriff David Jonese sees the Sheriffs Auxiliary Force as a group that can serve as a liaison between his dept and the general public. The program started about six months after the Sheriff took office. Up until now, the Auxiliary members have done offender transports to the regional jail, provided a security presence at ball games, and traffic control at parades. But the Sheriff says they could do so much more.

“We want to move it to the next level now” he says “and we want to make it more involved with the community, and do other things that the community wants. We do have some people in the Auxiliary that have special skills; former teachers that would be able to help students if they’re in trouble and need some additional help. We also have Auxiliary members who have skills that can help people on home confinement and day report with learning some life skills; whether it be how to balance a checkbook or how to build a house. Give them a skill that they can put to work and use to improve their lives.”

While the buck stops with the Sheriff, Auxiliary member Joes Srodes says the Auxiliary will operate with some autonomy.

“We will be a stand-alone organization and we will choose our own officers, develop our own projects, organize our own policies and procedures” says Srodes. “We will always be an adjunct to the Sheriff and the department, but the Sheriff will not be involved with the day to day, hands on of the Auxiliary; we will run ourselves. Understand, the Sheriff will still approve all applicants, and he will always have the authority to dismiss someone; in short he’s still the boss.”

Srodes says some of the projects they’re considering include a neighborhood watch in Marlinton, riding the school bus with sports teams for away games, and as a law enforcement presence in the halls of the courthouse for assistance and direction. He says they could also help make sure that elderly and physically challenged residents are okay during snowstorms or other emergencies.

“We’re going to be responsible for seeing that all of our members are trained” says Srodes. “We won’t train them; right now the Sheriff has designated Deputy Cole to be our training officer. We will develop training modules. It will be the responsibility of the auxiliary to track everyone’s training modules they’ve completed. We ask for 10 hours of volunteer service a month.”

The Auxiliary force will also be under the supervision of an Advisory Board who will meet every other month. Members of that board will be announced at a later date.

Auxiliary members are required to have a background check, and as safety sensitive volunteers, are subject to random drug testing just like Sheriff’s dept deputies. Members receive jackets, hats and hoodies identifying them as auxiliary members as well as an identification card.

There are currently around 15 members on the Auxiliary Force, at least 12 of them active, roughly split between male and female members. Sheriff Jonese would like to see that number increase to about 30.

If you’re interested in being part of the Poc County Sheriff s Aux force, you can contact the Sheriff’s department, or Joel Srodes at joel@srodes.com.

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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