POINT PLEASANT — There’s been enough drama surrounding the Mason County Sheriff’s Department in the last three months to create its own reality TV show, leaving many in the community asking, what is going to happen next?
What happened this week (so far) is the release of a mission statement for the Mason County Sheriff’s Department in an attempt to define some goals amid the drama that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. The statement was drafted by new Chief Deputy Rob Wilson whose appointment by Mason County Sheriff David Anthony created controversy last week when Anthony demoted former Chief Deputy Jeff Fields from the position. Fields had gained support from the Mason County Commission which has given no indication it is backing down from its commitment to file a petition to remove Anthony from office via a three-judge panel consisting of West Virginia Circuit Court Judges.
In one of his first, official duties, Wilson released the mission statement which deals with everything from innovation to fiscal management, saying of the latter: “Careful management of our financial resources demonstrates our respect for the citizens. Sound fiscal responsibility ensures accountability to the public and focuses resources for efficiently achieving the goals of the Mason County Sheriff’s Department.” Fiscal management is obviously a point of contention surrounding the department with the sheriff facing charges he misused a county credit card - charges he has formally denied. Anthony’s attorney David Moye indicated to the Point Pleasant Register he may request the financial aspect of the grand jury indictment be tried separately from the other charges, namely the wanton endangerment charge which Anthony also denies.
In addition to fiscal management, Wilson also wrote a section about those aforementioned “Department Goals” and defined them as such:
- Provide the best in quality service to earn the highest respect and confidence from the citizens in Mason County.
- Provide public service through individual attention with empathy, integrity and professionalism.
- Identify areas in which public safety can be enhanced.
- Be leaders in the area of responsibility and accountability by exercising the maximum effort toward reaching the department’s mission.
- Treat all citizens and fellow employees in a fair and equitable manner without regard to race, gender, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation.
- Reduce crime, make roadways safe and provide assistance to the public in the most professional manner.
- Be conscious of how they manage their resources and to focus their activities with the greatest impact on the department’s priorities.
- Utilize the best available technology to meet the demands of its employees and citizens that they serve.
“As members of the Mason County Sheriff’s Department, we must constantly be cognizant of our future expectations,” Wilson wrote in the mission statement. “We must work together, plan and strive for excellence realizing that the daily decisions that are made will reflect on the future of our department. I will dedicate myself to the realization of this mission statement and to serving the law enforcement officers of the Mason County Sheriff’s Department and the citizens of Mason County.”
The mission statement’s release defines the department’s goals on paper, though those “daily decisions” made in the sheriff’s office will likely define a future that for now at least, remains under scrutiny.