Retired Fayette County deputy files to run for sheriff

FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – A retired Fayette County deputy sheriff is running for sheriff.

It was a busy day for Lieutenant Jess McMullen. As he retired from a 21-year career as a sheriff’s deputy, his peers awarded him a plaque and thanked him for his service.

Then, he stepped across the hall to submit the paperwork necessary to run for sheriff in 2024.

He says he can’t see himself doing anything besides public service.

“Probably ten or 12 years ago, I knew this was what I wanted to do. This was a goal, an accomplishment that I wanted to achieve.” McMullen said. “It’s pretty intense, a lot of stress, but I think it’ll be worth it in the end because I feel like I owe it to this county to do it my whole life. Ever since I graduated high school, I have been in public service.”

If elected, McMullen wants to build on what current sheriff Mike Fridley has accomplished. A continued focus is on the opioid epidemic plaguing Fayette County. Although the end is not in sight, he believes there are steps that can be taken.

“All we can do is keep those programs going and try to help people. If you save one, you save 200. So that’s that’s our main goal,” he said.

McMullen will face off against Chuck Miller in the spring Republican primary election.

Miller previously ran for sheriff in 2020. and lost to Sheriff Fridley in the general election. Fridley is no longer eligible to serve due to term limits.

As it stands now, the winner of the Republican primary election will be the next sheriff unless a candidate enters as a Democrat.

For McMullen, serving as a sheriff is a way to give back to the people he says helped him get where he is today.

“I love this place. I was born and raised here. Other than the military, I’ve never lived anywhere else or been anywhere else,” McMullen said. “These are my people and they deserve the best. They deserve to be taken care of. And I feel like I owed it to them because they’ve taken care of me for so long.”

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