KINGWOOD, W.Va.- From bent rims to flat tires, the Preston County Sheriff’s Office has reached almost $15 thousand in damages to its vehicles since March 2018 due to poor road conditions.
“It’s an added cost that shouldn’t be there. To the county, to the taxpayers. It’s putting us in a position where we’re constantly shuffling vehicles for people to use,” said chief deputy Paul Pritt.
Representatives from the sheriff’s office have been working with Preston County Commission to find a solution. They said that the size and number of potholes on the roads is making their jobs more difficult because of repair expenses.
“They’re having to spend money on tires and repairs instead of on new equipment they need,” said county commission president Dave Price.
With so much ground to cover, law enforcement officers are also struggling to effectively respond to calls.
“We have a big county, a lot of roads, and we can be traveling from Silver Lake in one part of the county to Masontown in the other part of the county. It could take you close to 40 minutes on very good roads, and you’re hitting potholes the whole way,” said Pritt.
When a cruiser is damaged, it requires two to three days to be fixed, so officers are at times forced to use backup cruisers, many of which have also ended up needing repairs.
“That’s why we have a state of emergency and that’s why we renewed that state of emergency. Because it’s not just inconvenient, but it’s dangerous,” said Price.
Both the sheriff’s office and county commission say they hope to see significant repairs made to the road before the start of winter.