Veteran Beckley police officer Jeff Shumate is moving into the Raleigh County prosecuting attorney’s office next month, taking on a dual role as a special investigator and security adviser.
Last summer, an assistant prosecutor, Tom Truman, appealed to the Raleigh County Commission to make room in its budget for such a position, saying he and others in his office are under constant death threats from criminals.
“It’s not a comfortable spot to be in, when you and your family are on the line for doing your job,” he had said.
In Tuesday’s meeting, the commission agreed to create the new position and handed the $40,000-a-year post to Shumate, who is retiring from the Beckley Police Department, where he signed on in 1990 as a patrolman and is currently chief of the detective bureau.
Prosecutor Kristen Keller said the job was properly advertised but attracted “very few responses, I think because of the requirements of the position.”
Keller characterized Shumate as “overwhelmingly the most qualified candidate,” pointing out he has “an enormous amount of trial experience” and in working with the judicial system, accompanying her in cases before the West Virginia Supreme Court and U.S. District Court.
“He has won numerous awards as outstanding officer of the year,” the prosecutor said.
“His training will be invaluable.”
What’s more, she pointed to a number of training programs Shumate successfully completed, including criminal investigation, forensics, “and, very importantly, in the present climate, in school safety.”
Just before his appointment was approved, Shumate agreed that the role of a prosecutor can be dangerous, given the constant demand to deal with those engaged in breaking laws.
“I do think it’s important to have someone in the office that has some training as far as providing security for them,” he said.
In some respects, Shumate said, the job can put a prosecutor at risk.
“They’re probably exposed to a little more potential problems than some law enforcement offices, just due to the fact that, as a law enforcement officer, you’re always prepared for someone to obstruct you or attempt to harm you,” he said.
“From a prosecutor’s standing, their focus is in trial preparation and different types of hearings.”
In his two decades as a Beckley officer, Shumate has witnessed some dramatic changes over the law enforcement landscape.
“Electronics has been one thing that has not only changed the methods we use to investigate crimes but also change the types of crimes you’re investigating,” he said.
“Law enforcement has progressed to be more efficient through the years, through the development of forensic types of investigations, and DNA. The progress of DNA has just been unbelievable in what it’s able to help us with at this point. What I tell the young guys, that in the next 20 years, you’ll see a complete change in the methods that you conduct criminal investigations, but also in the types of crimes you’re going to deal with.”
Without elaborating, Shumate said he feels confident that in his new role with the prosecutor he can help the county lower its annual bill to the Regional Jail Authority.
“That’s one big thing we’ll be looking at,” he added.
— E-mail: email@example.com
Veteran Beckley police officer, chief of detectives retiring after 23 years with city
- Latest News
Firefighters battle tractor trailer fire on I-77 near Athens
The load on two tractor trailers traveling southbound on Interstate 77 near Athens caught on fire Thursday afternoon. Traffic is still moving southbound on I-77 southbound despite the fire.
UPDATE: WVDOT opens one lane of W.Va. 20
One lane of W.Va. 20 has now been opened after a rock slide closed both lanes between the Veterans Memorial Bridge and Bluestone Dam near Hinton.
Jake Owen, Kellie Pickler to headline Friends of Coal Auto Fair
The 11th Friends of Coal Auto Fair will feature Jake Owen and Kellie Pickler on July 19. Tickets go on sale April 28.
Beckley man allegedly solicits child for sex, facing multiple charges
A 28-year-old Beckley man was arrested Wednesday for soliciting a 14-year-old for sex.
New River Gorge eagle hit by train, vehicle dies
A female bald eagle that nested in the New River Gorge has died from injuries suffered last month when she was hit by a train and later by a vehicle.
Video: Meat market
The price of beef has everyone in a stew these days, and it doesn’t stop with the “what’s for dinner” protein. Prices of pork and chicken are on the rise, as well.
Still alive, TWV’S 54th season is all ‘Hatfields and McCoys’
Although the schedule is a bit different than originally planned, Theatre West Virginia Act II is officially alive, with 17 scheduled showings of “Hatfields and McCoys.”
Spring Job Fair: 400 job seekers meet 22 employers
More than 400 people came looking for a new job Wednesday at The Register-Herald’s Spring Job Fair at the Tamarack Conference Center.
This year there were 22 area employers in attendance which gave potential hires more options in many different fields.
Child care in state lacking in quality
Child care programs of minimum or unrated quality are watching over about 93 percent of West Virginia children enrolled in them, a report released Wednesday said.
Train derailment reported in Mercer County
The derailment occurred in the Rock area of Mercer County, according to Norfolk Southern spokesman Robin Chapman.
- More Latest News Headlines
- Firefighters battle tractor trailer fire on I-77 near Athens