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COPS hiring program will be in effect for 3 years

Photo by Michele Newbanks As part of the safety and transportation team, Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Sheaves trains on how to safely use a taser while Deputy Todd Moyer waits his turn.

A $125,000 grant will help the Washington County Sheriff’s Office fund a road patrol officer for the next three years.

The COPS Hiring Program Grant, administered by the U.S. Department of Justice, will allow for the hiring of a road patrol officer to replace Deputy Jason Hall, who is the new school resource officer for Fort Frye Local Schools. Hall’s K-9 Largo also goes with him to Fort Frye.

“It freed up local funds to replace him on the road in the day-to-day operations of the criminal division,” Chief Deputy Mark Warden explained.

Pam Sullivan, administrative assistant and fiscal manager for the sheriff’s office, said the WCSO initially pays 100 percent of Hall’s salary, and then the school district reimburses 25 percent of his wages.

The grant will pay for the new hire, while the reimbursement from the school district will cover the local match.

“It’s a win-win for Fort Frye for the SRO,” Warden said, adding it will free up local money to put the new deputy on the road.

Warden said a requirement to receive the funding was that the money go to hire a new deputy.

Sullivan added they will have to provide documentation of how the money was used in order to receive the next installment of funding.

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Warden said the sheriff’s office is on a recruitment push, as they are looking for people for several different jobs, such as safety and transportation.

The Washington County Jail is short employees in several disciplines, he noted, including booking officers, nurses and control operators.

“The timing of the grant is impeccable,” he said. Through attrition, officers are pulled from the jail to fill other vacancies in road patrol, and safety and transportation.

“We try to (promote) from within,” Warden said. No training is required for positions within the department, but for some, it is preferred. Any hired by the sheriff’s office will be sent for training.

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Along with having school resource officers available, an outpost will be added to Frontier. There is already one in Fort Frye and Warren, with one to be added in Newport. It will put a cruiser at the school after hours, Warden said.

“It’s an office away from the office,” Warden added. “They can complete their reports within their zone. Keeping them in their zones is more efficient. It cuts the response time tremendously.”

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@

mariettatimes.com.

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