CHARELSTON, W.Va. –Kanawha County voters will see two very familiar law enforcement names on the primary election ballot when they go to the polls. Sheriff Mike Rutherford is ending his long tenure of service to the county, so at year’s end there will be, literally, a new Sheriff in town.

Two Republicans want to fill the roll, Sean Crosier and Joe Crawford. Both have a long history of law enforcement service in Kanawha County.

Crosier started with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department in 1987 where he had a 27-year career and rose to the rank of Captain before he retired. Crosier said he comes from a long line of lawmen. His grandfather and father were DNR Conservation Officers in Monroe County and his dad served two terms as the Monroe County Sheriff.

Crawford is also a longtime lawman. He served 30-years on the St. Albans Police Force. He was with the department from 1987 to 2011 and the last six years was Chief. After his retirement, Crawford worked for the U.S. Marshal Service in the federal court security division. He spent time as the Chief of Police in the Putnam County town of Eleanor, worked as an investigator for state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office, and then became Chief of the Yeager Airport Police for two years. He returned to St. Albans to spend five more years as the city’s police chief for a second stint. Crawford is the current Chief Deputy for the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department and has been in the position for the past three years.

Both candidates were complimentary of Sheriff Rutherford’s leadership and his ability to secure an increase in pay for deputies. Kanawha County is now the state’s highest paid Sheriff’s department and ranks high among all law enforcement in the state for pay rate.

“There’s been a good foundation laid and we have a lot of great men and women. I see recruiting and retention and we need to get the best and brightest. There’s a high expectation we have here at the Sheriff’s office and I want to maintain that,” said Crawford.

Crosier was equally adamant about recruiting and retention which is a challenge for all law enforcement.

“I think if we do a better job of recruiting and reach out to all of the colleges and try to hit former military guys because they always make good candidates because they are already squared away,” said Crosier.

Crosier wanted to also do more with community policing and getting the sheriff’s department to be more engrained in the areas where deputies patrol.

“Reconnect with the citizens to find out their needs in the neighborhood. Every time I go into neighborhoods and ask people if they know who their deputy is that patrols that area, they look at me funny, but they should know,” said Crosier.

Crawford said drugs continue to be a top priority for the department and will under his administration as well.

“The drug epidemic is not going to go away and we’re going to continue to fight that. We’re in a good position now with our federal partners to continue to combat the drug problem,” said Crawford.

Likewise, Crosier believed drugs along with mental health were key areas which need heightened attention.

“We have a huge mental health problem and I think it’s driving violence, driving the demand for drugs and we’ve lost an entire generation of children to drugs. We have to get back into the drug education business at all levels, elementary, middle and high schools,” said Crosier.