Cumberland Times-News

Local News

February 12, 2014

Wiley Ford to provide ambulance service

KEYSER, W.Va. — The Wiley Ford Volunteer Fire Company will now provide ambulance service after it recently obtained a unit from the Fort Ashby Volunteer Fire Company.

The commission unanimously voted on Wednesday to approve the fire company’s request to operate that new ambulance as long as it meets the licensing requirements, members can staff it and the company obtains insurance for a probation period of six months. After six months, the matter will be re-evaluated.  

The company has to be licensed in order to operate an ambulance, according to Commissioner Dr. Richard Lechliter. The ambulance authority already approved the fire company’s request with a six-month probation period during its meeting on Tuesday.

The fire company also requested to become a voting member on the ambulance authority, but in order for that to happen, a public member would have to be removed because the authority is at its capacity with 15 members, according to Lechliter. The commission decided not to approve the fire company’s request to become a voting member of the authority.

Also during the meeting, the commissioners discussed ways to lower the regional jail bill, which totaled $70,831 in January.

Attorney David Webb suggested changing the personal recognizance bond and Sheriff Jeremey Taylor suggested utilizing home confinement. Taylor said offenders could pay the county while on home confinement and that law enforcement would always know where they are at all times because they would be required to wear a GPS tracking device.

Webb has previously suggested hiring a paralegal to assist the prosecuting attorney’s office in tracking people in jail and looking into ways to move nonviolent offenders out.

“I think the biggest problem now is that there isn’t even a process to track them,” said Mike Bland, county coordinator.

During a commission meeting in December, Webb suggested a meeting with key players to discuss how to lower the jail bill and that meeting has yet to happen. The commissioners agreed that the organizational meeting needed to happen.

“We need to get something going, we are not making any steps,” said Commissioner Jerry Whisner. “We are still getting a high bill. If we can get this under control, it can benefit everyone.”

About two-thirds of the bill is for those charged with felony offenses, according to Webb.

“Once they are convicted of that felony they no longer become our problem, if they get convicted right away,” said Taylor.

In the past, the county commission association has tried to push legislation through that would require a city to pay the jail costs for the first night of incarceration if the person is arrested in the city. The legislation wasn’t pushed through because no one wanted to take the responsibility of the city paying, President Janice LaRue has said.

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

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