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Sheriff’s Department Getting ATV Garage

By Staff | Oct 21, 2015

The Wetzel County Sheriff’s Office will now have a building to house its ATVs, thanks to the Wetzel County Commission.

The commission agreed to pay the cost of $24,370 to purchase the building, which will be located near the Wetzel County 4-H grounds. WCSO Chief Deputy Mike Koontz stated the out-of-town location would be more convenient.

In another matter, the commission agreed to allow the sheriff’s department to give their old cruisers to Paden City Police Department.

Also, the sheriff’s department introduced the commission to a new piece of equipment, called TrueNarc, they would like to obtain. Deputies Randy Adams and Rob Hayes said that at a recent training, they were introduced to the handheld device, which would fit in a pants pocket. Adams said the device would allow the user to scan a bag of drugs, through plastic or glass.

The device would identify any drug precursors inside the bag.

Adams said if the commission was interested in the device, a demonstration could be arranged.

Hayes noted the device, which costs approximately $20,000, would allow law enforcement to know whether or not to send the substance to a lab.

“The device will let us know whether the substance is baby powder or corn starch as well. We have pulled cars over with white baggies of powder . . . In a matter of 30 seconds, we will have a diagnosis of what the substance is.”

Chief Deputy Koontz said he thought the cost was a lot for one machine. However, he said the device would be very helpful to the department.

“Field tests aren’t always conclusive,” he added.

Commission Vice President Larry Lemon inquired as to whether or not the results of the equipment would be admissible in court.

“That is a question Mike (Koontz) and I talked about. We are going to have to talk to Tim Haught (Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney) about,” Adams said. He added that regardless, the results of the device would be additional evidence.

Adams said the main perk of the device is that law enforcement would no longer have to be exposed to the substance in the bag.

“As far as a safety concern, with all the heroin, cocaine, meth . . . there is stuff that comes out of it and gets in the air. This way would eliminate all that.”

In another matter, Wetzel County Assessor Scott Lemley chose Blue Mountain Inc. as the company to conduct aerial photography for the assessor’s office. Lemley said his office wants to conduct aerial photography on an annual basis.

“I think it will be extremely helpful with all the oil and gas drilling,” Lemley said. “With the slide of a cursor, we can see where changes have occurred.”

Lemley said this project would also help with the assessor’s office website.

Lemley said the last part of the project involves imaging. He said every parcel in the county is identified with hard copy file. Lemley said he hopes to eventually get digital copies on each parcel.

“The office will be able to wait on the customer in a more expedient matter. We will continue to keep the hard copy file, but we will also have a backup on the server. If files ever get destroyed, we will have something on the server backed up.”

Blue Mountain will maintain the files on an annual basis. Lemley also said his field appraisers will have electronic tablets which they can use to access the images while on the field.

“We are trying to move the office forward in different respects technologically,” Lemley said. “This is a big step, and it’s a step I’m really excited about. We have a positive work environment, not only in my office. We’ve created bridges with the county clerk’s office, the sheriff’s tax office, and the county commission. It’s been a job I really enjoy,” Lemley added.