Hupp recalls administrative achievements
Compared to other county office holders, eight years is not a long time to be an elected official. But in eight years outgoing Tyler County Sheriff Clay Hupp has done a lot in a short amount of time.
Hupp moved to the county in 1978 and retired with the rank of sergeant from the West Virginia State Police in 1999, working primarily at the St. Marys detachment. Despite taking a year off, law enforcement once again was calling Hupp and he decided to run for Sheriff, winning election in 2001.
“That position was open and it looked like something I could do,” remarked Hupp. “I was pretty well known in the area and I wanted to make a difference in the sheriff’s office. I thought I had a pretty good background and I thought it would be a pretty good fit. I thought I was electable.”
Looking back, Hupp is a little taken aback by all that he accomplished.
“I made a lot of progress,” said Hupp. “My expectations were to get as much done. I actually went beyond my expectations of what I thought I could do. I was surprised I got as much done, and if you look back over the last eight years, there’s been quite a bit done.”
One of his first missions was to create suitable office space for deputies and staff. The offices at the time were in the basement of the county courthouse, which was small, virtually unheated, unhealthy, and unsafe.
“I could have resided in the Sheriff’s Residence if I wanted to; I was the first sheriff to have turned down that offer,” said Hupp. “I opted to use the residence to renovate it into a 21st century law enforcement office.”
The biggest improvement has been in funding. While sheriff, Hupp has secured nearly $900,000 in various federal and state grants, taking the burden off of the county’s general fund and saving taxpayer dollars.
These include grants to combat underage drinking, DUI patrols, the ability to do their own criminal checks, new fingerprint equipment, new vehicles, and video surveillance at the courthouse.
“Anytime I, as an elected official, could bring something back to Tyler County, I went for it,” said Hupp. “Because if I can help out law enforcement and the general fund doesn’t have to pay for that, the spinoff should be better funding for the rest of the county employees and the county offices. I think I’ve done my fair share in getting extra funding in.”
Under Hupp, Tyler Consolidated Middle/High School received their first School Resource Officer.
The first SRO was current Sheriff-Elect Bob Kendle. The job is currently held by Scott Dalrymple.
“It provided me with a new hire,” remarked Hupp. “I think it’s the first time we’ve actually had four law enforcement officers. We put a seasoned police officer in the Tyler Consolidated High School.”
Hupp is most proud of providing countywide emergency radio communications. Through a $193,000 Homeland Security Grant, Hupp started construction on a new communication tower in Sistersville. Through a $183,252 grant from the Public Service Commission, Hupp was able to replace the tower at Klondike.
“When I first started in the state police in 1978, if myself or another trooper or a deputy was in the area of Indian Creek, Deep Valley, and even some places closer to Middlebourne, you might as well have rolled down the window and yelled for help; that’s how bad communication was then,” remembered Hupp. “You can ask any fireman and any law enforcement officer how much those new towers have improved our communications. I think we’d get an A-plus rating on that.”
The county has also received over $200,000 in drug asset forfeitures. The money has been used to fund the county’s K9 unit and to fund other drug investigations.
Through home confinement funds, where criminals pay the county in order to serve jail sentences from home, the county has been able to purchase new vehicles.
The Sheriff also serves as 911 Director. Hupp has made upgrades to the center, as well as providing pay raises. This also includes countywide mapping and readdressing.
In eight short years, Hupp believes he is leaving the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department better than how it was when he started.
“I think I’ve brought a lot to the table when I assumed the duties as Sheriff of Tyler County,” said Hupp. “The end result is better protection for Tyler County through modern-day 21st century law enforcement. I’m very grateful to have been chosen not once, but twice, by the voters of Tyler County.”
As for future plans, Hupp finally plans to enjoy his retirement.
“I’ve worked since I was 10-years old, said Hupp. “For the past 33 years, with my military time included, I’ve worked all the time. I really don’t know what it’s like to be off. I will take some time off and intend to spend a heck of a lot of time with my family.”