#schoolsafety | Meet the Candidates: Kanawha Sheriff | Politics

Michael Rutherford (D-incumbent) 

Town of residence: St. Albans 

Education: St. Albans High School, West Virginia State University B.A. degree, West Virginia State Police Basic Academy (graduated 1st in class), F.B.I. National Academy graduate, Institute of Police Technology and Management (Traffic collision reconstruction) 

Occupation: Sheriff of Kanawha County (48 years law enforcement experience) 



Rutherford


What prompted you to run for reelection? 

I have grown up in a family dedicated to public service. My father was a Captain with the St. Albans Fire Department, my brother retired from the sheriff’s office and is currently the director of the 911 Center, my wife is a medical receptionist, my son is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and my brother-in-law retired from the sheriff’s office and is currently with the Capital Police Department. I want a better and safer future for my children and grandchildren.

I am not a quitter. I believe that serving the community and providing the best training, equipment and pay for our deputies is critical to a safer community. I have been honored to be the only person to be previously endorsed by the Kanawha County Deputy Sheriff’s Association by unanimous vote. I will fight any attempt to defund or reduce funding for the sheriff’s office. I have an excellent relationship with our County Commission and fully expect their continued support with all of our efforts to provide exceptional service to our communities. 

What would you say is the most important issue facing the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, and how would you address it?

One of the most important issues facing the sheriff’s office is the substance abuse problem. I have increased from 84 to 103 the number of deputies to provide protection to our citizens. We have a neighborhood drug investigative unit, deputies assigned to a D.E.A. task force and deputies that work on the MDENT county drug task force.

I created the Property Crimes Section in the Detective Bureau; this section has made numerous arrests and reduced the property crime incidents reported to the sheriff’s office since 2017 by 31%. Additionally $1,182,298.89 in stolen property has been recovered between July 2019 and July 2020. In 2005 we opened the Day Report Center and Drug Court to treat and help those addicted to drugs and alcohol and help prevent domestic abuse. I will continue to explore and use every new and viable strategy to combat this and all other problems that we are faced with in our county. 

How can the Sheriff’s Office improve its relationship with the community it serves? 

We currently have 16 neighborhood watches around the county that deputies attend. Area commanders work closely with business owners, churches, minority groups and other community organizations to help them with various concerns from suggesting crime prevention measures to providing active shooter classes and listening to community concerns. We will continue to encourage and actively participate in interactions with all of the various communities throughout the county that we serve. 

Sean Crosier (R)

Town of residence: Charleston

Education: B.S. in Criminal Justice, many Master’s Level hours,

Occupation: Retired captain, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office; Polygraph examiner 22 years of experience; small business owner of 19 years

What prompted you to run for office?

My family has been serving citizens of West Virginia in the law enforcement profession since the 1940s, carrying on four generations.

A large number of current and retired deputies persuaded me to become their next sheriff. They know the potential their agency has, and they feel new, energetic and experienced leadership is the answer.

I have vast training and experience in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive weapons of mass destruction, expert status in sexual assault/abuse investigations, sexual predator identification and instructor certifications in interviewing and interrogation from homeland security. 

What would you say is the most important issue facing the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, and how would you address it?

Loss of public trust. We rely on citizens to be our eyes and ears to report crime and suspicious activity in their neighborhoods and to provide with information to assist in solving crimes. Right now, both adults and children are afraid because they don’t know a deputy well enough to provide the information. They fear retaliation by the suspect(s).

Children must feel safe in reporting sexual abuse, as they know the predator and often, that predator instills fear in them to prevent reporting. Being an expert in sexual abuse/assault investigations, I will teach deputies to remove more predators from the streets and decrease the number of innocent victims.

Most all modern police agencies have a community policing division. A community policing program can help reduce all crime, anywhere from a 4% to 40% decrease. That is bang for the taxpayer buck.

The Community Policing Division will work with the community in a non-emergency setting to handle the ongoing problems they see every day.

How can the sheriff’s office improve its relationship with the community it serves?

Bring back a multifaceted and vibrant community policing division to restore public trust and rapport that has eroded due to lack of such a division.

I will establish a Faith Based Sheriff’s Advisory Council with ministers/leaders from around Kanawha County, including current and retired deputies as well as other law enforcement.

We need a LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program for breaking the addiction cycle. This program costs taxpayers nothing to implement, would save thousands in court and jail costs, and has a 74% success rate. Otherwise, it’s like a dog chasing its tail.

We need children’s programs to prevent drug abuse, provide resistance education, social media safety, anti-bullying, decision making, school safety, and sexual predator identification

We need to make our neighborhoods safe by creating a Reserve Auxiliary Deputy Unit to place more eyes and ears in the neighborhoods

I’ll also improve deputy training to facilitate improved success in solving crimes.


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