BUCKHANNON — Circuit Court Judges Jake Reger and Kurt Hall shared the duty of swearing in newly elected county officials Wednesday morning at the Upshur County Courthouse. Among the elected officials taking their new oath of office were Sheriff Virgil Miller, Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Hinkle, Assessor Dustin Zickefoose, Surveyor Dale Bennett and Magistrate Mike Coffman.
Also sworn in Wednesday morning, was Upshur County’s newest Deputy, Cade Garrett. Each official raised their right hand and verbally conveyed their oath to support the constitution of the United States, to support the constitution of the state of West Virginia, and to perform their duties to the best of their skill and judgement.
Judge Reger explained, “Judge Hall and I have both ran for office before and know what it’s like. We’ve had a lot of good people serve in office.”
Although newly elected, Virgil Miller is not a new face in the Sheriff’s Department, as he will be serving his fifth term as Upshur County’s Sheriff. Miller said he is very much looking forward to serving another term in Upshur County. A recent call Miller received from the State Sheriff’s Association notified him that as far as their records go, he is the longest serving Sheriff in West Virginia. Miller explained to The Record Delta that he decided to run again because, “I’m one that can’t sit still, and I have to stay busy.” Most recently, Miller spent the past year and a half working as a road Deputy in Lewis County.
Excited to begin his fifth term, Miller reflected on his new department and stated, “Some of the officers I had when I was Sheriff before, and of course, I’ve got some that are brand new. So, it is going to be a challenge to get the new officers up to speed.” When discussing his initial priorities as Sheriff, Miller explained, “I have been working down in the office, basically to see where we’re at. We have to get some fellas in the academy. We have two that need to go, so that is going to be a priority to get them in there, because they cannot work by themselves until they go through academy. And I’m going to look at the tax office and see if there is anything we need to do there.”
Bryan Hinkle who has been serving as Upshur County’s Prosecuting Attorney since his appointment in December of 2019, will now have a secured four years after recently being elected to the office. Running unopposed, Hinkle was relieved to have a less stressful election, given the stress COVID-19 has put on his office. “I love it here. I’m glad it worked out the way it did. I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to run for office and luckily, it worked out in my favor,” he expressed.
Hinkle is most looking forward to getting through this pandemic, as he explained, “It has backlogged all of our cases so badly. I think we have over 150 felony cases that need to be resolved one way or another... It makes it difficult, getting cases resolved, with everything, and now with attorney’s getting sick and their cases getting continued. It has been a challenge, but we’ve managed it so far.” Hinkle expressed that they’ve been very fortunate working with the Upshur County Commission who have reportedly allowed the county’s officials to handle their offices in the way they think is most appropriate, which has seemingly worked well so far. All in all, Hinkle asserted, “Everything is going well, except for the backlog, and we get along well with our local law enforcement.”