BUCKHANNON — The Upshur County Commission and Sheriff Virgil D. Miller met in executive session last Thursday morning to discuss the Sheriff’s Deputy Sign-On Incentive Program for already certified officers. The original program was approved by Commissioners in February 2021; however, some changes have been made.
Previously, Commissioners approved a full $5,000 sign-on bonus, if the Deputy remains satisfactorily employed with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office for 5 years. Now, the sign-on incentive will be negotiated per hire, County Administrator Carrie Wallace explained. She noted, $1,000 per year will be offered up to a max of 8 years.
In February, Sheriff Miller explained to County Commissioners that the cost of hiring a new non-certified officer, based on calculation from several previous hires, is almost $37,000. He reported this cost includes Academy fees, supplies for attending the Academy, 120 days of pay prior to going to the Academy, regular and overtime weekend pay during the Academy, and the county’s cost of paying into Social Security, FED/MED tax, retirement, and Worker’s Compensation. According to Sheriff Miller, officers are now required to spend the entire 10 weeks, seven days a week at the Academy, without leaving.
Sheriff Miller emphasized, “I know we have some interest in surrounding counties of certified officers coming to work here in Upshur County and this is a little more incentive for them to do so.” The ultimate goal of this incentive program is to eliminate costs of hiring and training a new officer, as well as encourage already certified officers to join the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department, and stay.
Deputy William T. Chidester was also approved by Commissioners on Thursday morning, to transfer from a part-time Deputy Sheriff to a full-time Deputy Sheriff, effective August 16, 2021.