MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — Berkeley County has agreed to pick up the remaining tab of funding to better protect its court marshals.
According to Chief Court Marshal Mike Laing, this will be the first time court marshals at the Berkeley County Judicial Center will sport the new protective gear. Laing added that an incident which took place out-of-state inspired the move.
“There was an incident that happened in Jefferson County, Ohio which is really close to Wheeling, West Virginia that raised our awareness to this event and caused concerned so we got the ball rolling with grants and stuff,” Laing said.
Laing said the county will provide about $6,000 in funding to complete the needed payment of the bulletproof vests. The total cost of 29 vests, which court marshals will receive, amounted to $18,531. The remaining portion needed comes from the Department of Justice JAG Grant which amounts to approximately $13,000.
“It’s very exciting, it’s a much-needed piece of protective equipment and we’re very excited about it,” Laing added.
Lt. Ted Cyhanick of the Berkeley County Judicial Center shared the number of people who come across his radar daily. He believes this action has been a long time coming.
“Tt’s long overdue, we’re very busy here at the courthouse, (during the) month of July we had over 12,000 people come through the front door, looking forward to it, excited about it,” Cyhanick said.
According to Berkeley County Sheriff Curtis Keller, his deputies are responsible for securing the courtroom and judges. He added court marshalls are responsible for securing the entire judicial building.