WINFIELD, W.Va. -- The Putnam County sheriff requested a reorganization of his staff during Tuesday's county commission meeting that will include four new corporal positions and would remedy the practice of officers without ranks supervising others during some work shifts.
According to Sheriff Steve Deweese, the ongoing medical leave requested by two of his officers and the retirement of a third has forced the sheriff's department to allow two of four work shifts to be overseen by unranked deputies, which is unusual.
Deweese said that by promoting existing officers within the department, he will be able to have two corporals covering each shift and he can avoid the problem in the future.
"We've really never been in this situation before, where we have deputies running shifts," Deweese said.
Sgt. Rick Painter, a 26-year veteran of the department, will retire this week, and Deweese said adjusting the rank structure to include four more corporals while eliminating the need for another sergeant will allow the department to create the new positions with only an additional $13,000.
Adding one deputy to road patrol, Deweese said, will fill Painter's position.
"To me, it seems like a great bargain. If we can spend just over $13,000 and put another deputy on the road, I would think it's a no-brainer," said commission President Joe Haynes.
According to Deweese, the sheriff's department receives between 1,400 and 1,600 calls for assistance each month, or roughly 50 calls each day. The commission approved the request, which also must be approved by the Putnam County Civil Service Commission.