MULLENS, WV (WVNS) — A local police department in Wyoming County is struggling to stay afloat, according to the mayor.
When Jenny-Ann Lusk was elected Mayor of Mullens in July, one of her top priorities was to have a stronger police presence; however, things have not gone as planned.
Lusk said the Mullens Chief of Police is on medical leave and the Assistant Police Chief resigned, leaving the town with only one part-time officer, who also works another full-time job.
Lusk said with only one officer, she has turned to the Wyoming County Sheriffs department to help patrol the town.
“We can do a contractual arrangement with them to hire off-duty deputies to patrol,” said Lusk. “We are working with them to come up with an agreement of what we can afford and what they can provide until we can fill our positions.”
The contract would allow deputies to cover Mullens during their off-duty hours for $20 an hour until the town can hire more officers. Sheriff C.S. Parker said his department is also understaffed, but he lives in Mullens and does not want to see the town fail.
He also said he has never seen a situation quite like this in his 40 years in law enforcement.
“Pineville has coverage 24-hours a day, Oceana does too, and Mullens did,” Parker said. “I don’t know what the remedy is.”
Despite the grim situation, Lusk said she will never give up on her city and still has hope for a brighter future.
“I live in Mullens, I’ve always lived in Mullens and I love Mullens,” Lusk said. “I want it to be a safe place for my children and everyone else’s children to grow up and we are committed to solving this, but there’s no easy fix to this.”
Lusk said town officials will soon begin advertising police jobs and conducting interviews.