PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - UPDATE: 10/1/2018
Parkersburg City Council increases a hiring incentive for fully certified police officers to join the Parkersburg Police Department.
The incentive had been $2,500 for the last 12 years. Council approved it to $10,000 unanimously Tuesday night.
That's a $7,500 increase.
As soon as the mayor signs it, it will become official.
ORIGINAL STORY: 9/11/2018
Parkersburg City Council next week is to vote on final reading of a measure allowing the city police department to offer $10,000 incentives to join the police force.
That's been a concern to Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens, who has said his deputies are the lowest paid law-enforcement officers in the county.
Sheriff Stephens told the county commission, however, his goal is to retain as many of his current deputies as possible, before recruiting new ones.
He says finding new officers has become a problem for all law enforcement agencies.
"At the State Police Academy, they are recruiting certified officers to get hired as troopers, without putting them through their six-month academy class," the sheriff noted. "They're doing an abbreviated academy class to get certified officers, because they can't get people."
The sheriff has lobbied commissioners for pay raises for the department's deputies.
That's something commissioners hope to do, if recent changes in operation of the holding center result in reduced regional jail bills.