BUCKHANNON – Newly elected Upshur County officials were sworn in ahead of the New Year this week.
Bryan Hinkle, prosecuting attorney; Dustin Zickefoose, assessor; Dale Bennett, surveyor; sheriff Virgil Miller; and deputy Cade Garrett were all sworn in Wednesday, Dec. 30, in the Circuit Courtroom of the Upshur County Courthouse.
This was not the first time Miller was sworn in as sheriff.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity and I actually got a call yesterday from the state association of sheriffs, and they asked me what term I was in and they said, as far as their records go, I’m the longest serving sheriff in West Virginia,” Miller said. “That’s an honor and I look forward to working with my fellow sheriffs all over the state and working here. We’ve already put in motion a lot of things we want to do with the new year coming up.”
He said his first priorities will be in the tax office and dealing with some ramifications from COVID-19.
“We’re going to be in the tax office and gauge what we need to do there – obviously, we have had COVID issues, and the department had been partially shut down because some of the officers had the virus,” Miller said.
Garrett was also sworn in as a deputy after the elected officials. Garrett said he started his job at the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office at the beginning of December.
“I just really want to help people because there’s a lot of drugs going on and I really want to get that sort of thing off the street,” Garrett said. “I love it, it’s been amazing, and all the guys have been awesome – everybody’s super nice and encouraging.”
Zickefoose was sworn in for his second term as assessor and he said he hopes to continue running the office like he did in his first term.
“I enjoy the position, I enjoy the people I work with, and I enjoy the taxpayers. It’s one of these jobs where it takes four years to learn, so I had to run again to keep it going,” Zickefoose said. “I’m learning more every day. I want to continue what we’ve been doing, upgrade technology whenever we can and make things more efficient for the community and the taxpayers.”
Coffman, who heads the courthouse security board, was sworn in for his fourth term as magistrate and hopes to continue efforts to make the courthouse more secure for employees and visitors.
“I like the work, and I like the position,” he said. “I work with the same people, essentially, and I deal with law enforcement and just like to be involved in the electoral process and being in the criminal justice part. In the office of magistrate, I just want to remain fair and impartial but the main thing we’re still focusing on is getting that X-ray machine in for court security and taking those final steps in ensuring the safety of the courthouse and the safety of members of the public who visit.”
This was the second time Hinkle has been sworn in as the prosecuting attorney and he hopes to work on the caseload that has piled up due to COVID-19.
“Dealing with COVID-19 has not been fun, but hopefully, we can get through that soon because that’s been the biggest challenge so far – dealing with that and absolutely with the caseload that we have because we have busy, busy criminal dockets both in magistrate court and up here in circuit court, so hopefully we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it doesn’t look that way yet,” Hinkle said.