WELCH– A budget shortfall has meant that the McDowell County Sheriff’s Department has just one deputy working evening shifts and no officers available on weekends.
Sheriff Martin West tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that a county-ordered hiring freeze has meant that he has been unable to refill positions that have been vacant since four deputies left for other law enforcement agencies in neighboring Mercer County.
West says his department was ordered to cut its budget by 10 percent last year, which made it harder to retain existing deputies.
West says one deputy is currently handling all of the evening calls with assistance from troopers assigned to the West Virginia State Police Welch Detachment. The troopers also are handling all of the weekend calls.