Smith estimates hiring Alkire rather than any of the other candidates saved the city about $3,500.
"It costs about $1,500 just to send someone to the [West Virginia State Police] Academy," he said. "That's without getting a uniform, guns or equipment for the officer."
Hiring a certified officer also cuts down on the cost of insurance, he said. Until an officer is certified, insurance is higher, he said.
"Roughly, to put someone through the academy and get them trained is between $6,000 and $7,000, so to put him on the road was a lot cheaper for the city," Smith said.
Ronceverte used to have a problem common to many smaller departments, Smith said. Officers would get a job there, get their academy certification and then move on to another department with better pay and benefits.
"I went to the city and I finally told them, we are training all these officers to go to bigger departments. Our salaries don't compete with Lewisburg and the sheriff's department."
He estimates that about 75 percent of the officers in those two departments were first trained in Ronceverte.
The city started addressing the issue in 2004, raising pay and benefits, he said. An officer in Ronceverte now starts out at $13-an-hour plus benefits, which is competitive with other area departments, he said.
"So now instead of training officers to go somewhere else, we have certified officers who want to come here," Smith said.
Smith said the area has also started a Ronceverte Police Association, a nonprofit organization that raises money for police equipment for the city.
The city now has six officers, including one part-time, Smith said. When Alkire was hired, his was a new position.
One of the reasons Alkire was hired is that he has had sniper training, something Smith said he was looking for.
"He got involved in something he wished he never got involved in," Smith said. "He made the wrong choice and he paid for whatever he did."
Reach Gary Harki at gha...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.