CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the West Virginia Natural Resources Police are now helping out in the state’s prison system.
Officials announced Thursday nearly 70 Natural Resources Police Officers have volunteered for the additional duty to help out in the short staffed West Virginia Corrections System.
“A total of 68 offices have volunteered to assist in this endeavor and special detail,” said Natural Resources Police Colonel Bobby Cales.
“They’ll be working on their days off only so it will not affect the mission of our agency in any way, shape or form. They’ll be totally volunteering to work on their off days,” he added.
The volunteer officers were trained by Division of Corrections staff in January for the mission which will include helping out in 14 different facilities in the state. The job duties will be varied and so will the shifts. The work will include perimeter patrols, hospital detail, control rooms, and scan line work. Most of the work will be support roles in order to free up the Corrections employees to handle the actual corrections officer activities.
“It is different, however we are a state police law enforcement agency that is highly motivated and highly trained. We’re qualified to assist our sister agency in staffing throughout the state,” Cales explained.
The officers’ pay will be covered by the Division of Corrections budget. Federal law prohibits using revenue from hunting and fishing license or from excise taxes from the Pittman-Robertson Act and Dingell-Johnson Act to be used for any law enforcement duties other than wildlife resources work.
The duties will be considered overtime work for the officers and they’ll be paid time and a half according to Cales
Homeland Security Secretary Jeff Sandy was pleased with the arrangement.
“There is so much honor when a law enforcement officer crosses county lines, state lines, and country lines to help others in need,” said Sandy, a retired career U.S. Treasury agent. “I thank and commend the colonel for crossing the fence line to assist DCR in providing security in our time of need.”
“Every day and around the clock, our men and women perform a truly, truly honorable form of public service,” said Corrections Commissioner Betsy Jividen. “We’re especially appreciative to the DNR Police for stepping in to help us. Together, we will persevere and continue to take on challenges as they arise.”