It’s not only safe to say that Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum made a huge impact on his community in his four short months on the job — it would be an understatement.
Crum’s promise when taking office was that he would do his best to take the drugs out of Mingo County and off of the streets. That was his top priority and not only did he keep that promise, he exceeded it.
He began his career in law enforcement as a patrolman in Matewan and worked his way up through the ranks, eventually being named the chief of police there. He then became the chief of police in Delbarton. Anyone in those communities will tell you what type of man he was, as can anyone in Taylorville, where he was a lifelong resident.
Crum had 18 years as a law enforcement agent before running for Mingo County Magistrate Court. He was first elected to the court in 2002 and was re-elected in 2006 and 2010. He was the chief magistrate for the last three years before resigning from office in January 2012 to run for the office of sheriff.
Just that service alone would have made Crum special.
Crum was the only certified police officer to be elected sheriff and when the people spoke in that election, they made it clear that they wanted someone who would be willing to work day and night for the betterment of the community. And boy, did they make a good decision because that’s exactly what he did.
It doesn’t always happen that way with elected positions in law enforcement or government. In many cases, you don’t even know what you have until after they’ve been re-elected, but with Crum, you knew before he even took office.
He was appointed as drug task force commander through the prosecuting attorney’s office in September 2012, working hand-in-hand with Police Chief C.D. Rockel and officers throughout the county to rid the community of the scourge of drugs. Together they had almost 50 drug arrests before he was sworn in as sheriff — a pattern that continued once he took office.
Despite all of the accolades and successes, Crum never let it inflate his ego. He was always accommodating and willing to talk to the average resident. In fact, right before his death, he was thanked by a father and daughter for all he’d done to rid the community of drugs.
He was many things to many people but we must never forget that he was a husband, a father and a grandfather. He was their hero and ours.
Obviously flags will fly at half-staff for the fallen sheriff. We don’t think it would be inappropriate if they stayed that way.