Crime stoppers of Raleigh County honor two officers - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Crime stoppers of Raleigh County honor two officers

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BECKLEY (WVVA) - -

Crime stoppers of Raleigh County honor two law enforcement officers who they say go beyond the call of duty.

The ceremony was held Thursday morning in Beckley.

It's the first year of the awards, coming at a time when many law enforcement agencies are having difficulty filling positions.

Lieutenant Larry Lilly is the chief of detectives at the Raleigh County Sheriff's Department. Crime stoppers is honoring him for nearly 17 years of service to the law enforcement community.

"I was surprised at it, mainly because I feel like I'm and average cop. We're all out here doing the same thing," says Lieutenant Lilly.

The recognition comes to a profession with high stress, high danger, bad hours and low pay. While agencies may have no trouble getting applicants, trouble is many applicants don't make it past the first round of the hiring process.

"If we have 100 people apply for the position of deputy sheriff, at the end of the day we'll be lucky enough to have 15 people to consider.  Eighty-five per cent will be rejected because they failed the physical, the psychological or failed any number of background checks," says Raleigh County Sheriff Steve Tanner.

Out of those 15, Sheriff Tanner says some may find other jobs because the process of hiring deputies is slow.

"It's a calling, and it's not a job and that is something that is unique to us," says Sheriff Tanner.

"There's times I get aggravated at it. There's times I want to leave this field of work completely, but ultimately this is what I was supposed to do," says Lieutenant Lilly.

Ranger Nate Freier of the New River Gorge National River was also honored Thursday morning for going beyond the call of duty.

After work a few weeks ago, he talked a man out of jumping off the New River Gorge Bridge.

He says it's something he'll never forget.

"I was very nervous and I didn't know what to say and I told him I didn't know what to say. I just tried to talk with him about what was positive about it and why he should not jump. There were times and moments of silence and times we just talked," says Freier.

That story had a happy ending.  The man did not jump.  Freier says he doesn't know what ever happened to the man.

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