FRONT ROYAL – The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved Sheriff Mark Butler’s request to fund the hiring of a lieutenant who will focus on special investigations, internal affairs and obtaining accreditation.

The supervisors unanimously approved a $77,456 salary for the new lieutenant, whose employment begins April 1. A supervisors’ agenda sheet states that the action does not require additional funding, as it is already included in this year’s budget and next year’s proposed budget.

The agenda sheet explains the role was vacated Dec. 31 and previously filled by an employee who primarily supervised school resource officers and earned $60,508 annually.

“The job tasks envisioned for the vacant Lieutenant exceeds well beyond the previous position requirements, and thus demands greater pay to attract the very best qualified person,” the agenda states.

The agenda notes that savings are gained by hiring a candidate with certain qualifications, as “the cost of providing training to someone merely meeting the minimum requisites would be very expensive and also time-consuming.” It adds the new hire has 149 hours of legal training, 1,899 hours of career development training, 19 hours of cultural diversity training, along with training in myriad other areas.

The agenda sheet explains that the value of the new lieutenant’s experience “far exceeds” the approved salary.

Butler told the supervisors Tuesday the new lieutenant is “a true professional” who is “dedicated to our mission of being the best sheriff’s office in the state of Virginia and is more than happy and more than willing to take a large reduction in pay to come to our county to help move this forward.”

He added that the office would be “losing out on an amazing employee” if the hire were not approved.

Butler, who assumed office at the beginning of this year, said he has assessed the office during his tenure.

“We have a very young agency. We have a good agency. I’m very proud. I’m very happy where it stands at this point,” he said.

Butler said he sought an individual — who previously had worked for another sheriff’s office since 2002 — who did not have local ties.

“Not saying that we don’t have the qualified individuals within our agency, but I wanted to look outside for an individual who is not tied to our community to uphold professional standards, not only within the agency but within the county,” he said.

Butler added that the new lieutenant will help the office obtain accreditation, which he explained provides checks and balances. He said the office would like to achieve state and national accreditation.

“That way our community knows, when they see the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, that they have nothing but professionals working for them and they are always doing it to standard,” he said.

He added that accreditation helps “with an abundance” of tasks such as obtaining grants.

– Contact Josh Gully at jgully@nvdaily.com