WHEELING, W.Va.– (WTRF) The Ohio County Commissioners gave their seal of approval Tuesday tonight.

The three commissioners approved the hiring of of two new deputies at the sheriff’s department.

According to Sheriff Tom Howard, four deputies have retired in the last six months.

Also, since the commission approved the two deputies, he will search for more candidates.

The sheriff says the first step is to administer a civil service test to new applicants, but first the Civil Service Commission of Ohio County has to approve a test date.

In the meantime, the sheriff will focus on the two new hires, who currently work as part-time security officers in the department.

We have two ready to go. So we officially can bring them on. We officially have a start date now. Technically they’ve been working for us as security guards. Now they can take the next step and they will now be deputies. They still have to go through the West Virginia State Police Academy and graduate that, but we will be bringing them on officially now as deputies.

Sheriff Tom Howard, Ohio County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Howard says there are currently a total of 32 deputies including himself.

Also at Tuesday night’s commission meeting, commissioners approved the 2022-2023 budget.

The county’s budget has been approved for $21,150,000.