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Incoming sheriff talks about future of department, 911 center

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 6:21 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2021 at 10:54 AM EST
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WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. (WTAP) - The appointment of Rick Woodyard as Wood County’s next sheriff comes at a time when renovations are about to get under way for a new, expanded 911 center. The county commission earlier this year agreed to purchase the building that previously housed the former Suddenlink Communications call center for the new 911 facility.

Woodyard will continue to oversee that move and expansion, as he will retain his current job as center director. He tells us, however, that he will be paid only the salary of the sheriff.

“I have an organizational group here who is more than capable of driving things forward,” Woodyard told us after his appointment Wednesday, “and I think that I would be able to have input here to see the new building through.”

Woodyard was appointed 911 director in 2014, after more than three decades with the sheriff’s office. During those years, he held several deputy and higher positions. Several deputies he worked with, particularly those from later years, are still there currently.

“I think I will have the support of the men and women of the department,” he says. “They know me, they know what to expect from me. I appreciate the support they and everybody has given me through this whole process.”

The commission indicated Woodyard will be given the oath of office just hours before Sheriff Steve Stephens’ retirement is set to take effect. That oath, Commission President Blair Couch said Wednesday, would take place at a special commission meeting. Woodyard officially becomes sheriff at 12:01 A.M. December 2.

Said Woodyard about his new job: “It’s like riding a bike; once you get on, you don’t forget how to pedal the bike. I think we’ll be good.”

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