NEW CUMBERLAND-Ten years after the end of his tenure as Weirton police chief, Democrat Ralph A. Fletcher is headed for the office of Hancock County sheriff.
Fletcher, 60, of Weirton, soundly defeated Republican candidate Ronald P. Haggerty Sr. in Tuesday's election. Unofficial results from the Hancock County Election Office showed Fletcher beating Haggerty by a vote of 7,435 to 4,240.
Fletcher will succeed Sheriff Mike White, who is leaving office after eight years because of term limits.
During the campaign, Fletcher said his priorities as sheriff will include drug enforcement, staffing levels and assignments, and training for officers.
Fletcher ran a highly visible campaign that included stressing his 34 years in law enforcement, both in the private and public sector.
He got his start as a patrolman and a detective in the Weirton Police Department, where he specialized in accident investigations and children's crimes. Fletcher served as police chief from 1998 to 2002, during which time he was responsible for 45 sworn officers, 19 civilian employees and an annual budget of $2.7 million.
"That's quite a bit of administrative background," he said.
Upon retirement, Fletcher took a job with Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, where he helped set up an armed guard unit. He currently is special investigator for the Hancock County Prosecutor's Office.
In his campaign, Haggerty, too, stressed his years of experience with the Weirton Police Department. Haggerty, 61, of Weirton, worked there as a patrol officer and detective for 21 years. He currently operates a convenience store in Weirton with his wife.