After 35-plus years in law enforcement, the last eight as Kanawha County Sheriff, you might think Mike Rutherford would be ready for a little rest and relaxation when he officially leaves office. Not so!
“I’m afraid if I retired I’d be bored out of my mind.”
So instead of retiring he goes from sheriff on Monday to chief deputy of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday. His new boss is no stranger. The new sheriff is Johnny Rutherford, Mike’s younger brother.
“We’ve got a great sheriff coming in. I’m going to still be part of it. I think it’s going to be another good four years,” Mike said.
It’s a bit of role reversal. Johnny was his brother’s chief deputy for most of the last eight years. And the two were a successful team.
Rutherford says when he came into office there were a lot of things that needed done and he tackled those challenges right alongside his brother.
“We’ve got a lot of new vehicles to bring the fleet up to date. We started the KBI, the Kanawha Bureau of Investigation. We’ve added 18 additional deputies on our force. We’ve tremendously increased our training facilities and the training for our deputies,” according to Rutherford.
Also on that list: the creation of a tip line in 2005 that’s helped bust hundreds of meth labs, updating the security equipment for each deputy and restructuring each division.
Rutherford’s new duties as chief deputy will be a little different. Instead of overseeing the entire department, he’ll be working day to day with the deputies. That’s the part of the job he says he loves.
When Rutherford took office the first term, the big problem on the streets was meth. He says times have changed.
“Not only do we still have the meth problem, but prescription medication has just been crazy. It has absolutely exploded in the area. We’re working hard on that,” explained Rutherford.
Rutherford expects a seamless change as he and his brother switch duties.