MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — After years of difficulties recruiting and retaining staff, Berkeley County Sheriff Nathan Harmon has turned a corner.
“We’ve got one more position to fill. Technically that would equal up to 62. That doesn’t include me,” Harmon says. “We just received the COPS grant. We won that for the first time. That gives us four. I don’t hide it at all from the commission; I’m going to ask for two more, a total of six. You give me six more, so now we (would be) at 68. I’m hoping by the end of my four-year term we’re up in the low 80s, high 70s” in terms of deputies.
Part of the success is due to his ability to bring in lateral transfers.
“(The Sheriff’s Department) and the Berkeley County Civil Service Board have come together, and we agreed that we would accept lateral transfers of pre-certified officers,” Harmon told the Panhandle News Network. “That was a huge game changer for us.”
In November, United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II announced Berkeley County Council was awarded $500,000 under the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) initiative.