Cumberland Times-News

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February 12, 2013

Mineral: future cops take polygraphs

KEYSER, W.Va. — Mineral County commissioners asked Sheriff Jeremy Taylor to draft a policy stating that psychological evaluations and polygraphs will now be a part of the hiring process at the sheriff’s department.

The policy will also state the length of time the test will be valid.

“There has been issues before,” said Taylor at Tuesday’s commission meeting, adding that the tests would help to protect the county.

“There is a lot of idiots out there; you just never know. At least we can prove that (a new deputy) is fine when we started and not that we brought him into our department as a nut job,” he said.

The fee for the polygraphs would be $750 for three people and between $350 to $500 for a psychological evaluation, according to Taylor. 

“It’s not something we would do to every candidate,” said Taylor, adding that the tests would likely be for the top three candidates.

Mike Bland, county coordinator, suggested that the top four candidates be required to take the tests.

The policy will also state the required length of time before the applicant is required to retest.

The polygraph test is generally good for two years, according to Lauren Ellifritz, county clerk.

“There could be events that happen in that person’s life that would change the outcome of their psych evaluation or their polygraph exam,” said Taylor. “They could go out tomorrow and get arrested.”

Currently, the sheriff’s department does a physical fitness test, a civil service test, a background check and an interview, according to Taylor.

The civil service test for the lone deputy sheriff position will be held Saturday and 18 applicants will be taking the test.

Ellifritz, who will be administering the test, will notify the applicants about the psychological evaluation and polygraph.

The hiring process policy will be on the agenda for the next meeting for approval of the commission and once it is adopted the information will be included on future applications.

Also during the meeting, Jay Carter, general manager of the Potomac Valley Transit Authority, provided an annual report and made a budget request. The PVTA ridership is up 5 percent from the last fiscal year for the first seven months, according to Carter.

“We are down about 10 percent in miles,” said Carter.

 The PVTA is down to 18,000 miles on transportation for non-emergency medical transportation because they only travel when there are two or more riders, according to Carter. PVTA has 26 vehicles and riders are transported to and from the Mineral County Development Center/Workshop as well as Pilgrim’s Pride in Moorefield.

PVTA has also signed agreements with all five emergency management offices to provide transport if needed.

“You certainly do a tremendous job at this,” said Commission President Janice LaRue. “I know for a fact that some of these people who work at Pilgrim’s Pride would not be able to work. They can’t get there from here.”

Carter made a budget request of $2,000 for mobile radio equipment and $5,000 for operation costs.

The state is proposing to provide 50 percent of the costs of the radios, along with local participation of the counties, according to Carter.

“We have some challenges coming our way,” said Carter “Right now, the budget is 3 percent under target. We try to make the most efficient use of tax money that we can.”

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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