PRINCETON – Friends and family filled a courtroom Monday morning as the new Mercer County’s attorney took his oath of office two months early and took over his duties.
Princeton attorney Brian Cochran won the Republican law enforcement nomination in the primary election last June. No Democratic candidate ran for office, so Cochran is running today unopposed.
Acting prosecutor George Sitler later resigned to accept a new position as assistant prosecutor in Kanawha County. Sitler’s last day was October 30th. The Mercer County Commission appointed Cochran to take over his duties as prosecutor early. Cochran’s term of office was scheduled to begin in January 2021.
Court staff and guests filled Judge Mark Wills’ courtroom. The court was made available when Wills arrived at the bank.
“Today is the big day,” said Wills. “Congratulations to Mr. Cochran. I’ll come down and summon you. “
After the brief ceremony, Cochran thanked his family and his former colleagues in the law enforcement community for their support.
“First of all, I have to thank my family, Connie, Regan and Grant, and I have another boy who has been very supportive of me, Cole in Morgantown,” Cochran told the audience. The audience laughed when Cochran noticed that his son Grant happened to sit in the chair normally reserved for the defendants and told him that he did not want to see him there again.
“I want to thank you all for coming. They were all part of my life in one way or another, until the days of the young soldiers, ”he said. “
The new Raleigh County Attorney attended the ceremony along with the Raleigh County Sheriff. Mercer County Sheriff Tommy Bailey was in attendance with retired soldiers, members of the local police force and attorneys from the Brewster, Morhouse and Cameron law firm, where Cochran served as an attorney before making his decision to serve.
“I really appreciate all of you, and I think what this represents and what will be beneficial … there is a lot of crime going on in Mercer County. We’ll do our best to take care of it, but it’s not just included here in Mercer County. So we have people from Raleigh County who can pick up the phone to call, ”Cochran said. “It will be a team effort across the state of West Virginia.”
Cochran later spoke to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph and other local media outside his new office.
“It’s very exciting. I’m looking forward to it, but I also realize that it is a great responsibility and that there is a lot to be done here. We will work together as a team and do it to the best of our ability,” said Cochran. “I have Started this morning. I need to familiarize myself with the docket system that we have here to make sure the lawyers are in the right place and are handling the cases for which they are best suited. “
The new prosecutor described some of his goals.
“Well, anyone who harms a child in Mercer County will address this appropriately,” said Cochran. “We will prosecute violent criminals in Mercer County as often as possible. And I want to get some of the drug dealers out of here too. “
Cochran said the fact that he could start work early would help the prosecutor move smoothly from one prosecutor to another.
“It’s going to be a good thing because I didn’t want multiple transitions for the office. I don’t think this would be productive so I decided to start two months early when Mr Sitler resigned so there would be no additional transition, ”he explained, adding that his law enforcement experience would be helpful too.
“I started my career as a city policeman when I was 19,” recalls Cochran. “In college, I worked the night shift and went to college every day. I then went to the sheriff’s department, joined the state police, and was transferred here in Southwest Virginia. “
“This experience will be very helpful to me in my relationships with our law enforcement officers out here, as it is important that the prosecution and law enforcement officers work, collaborate and communicate with each other,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’ll agree on everything, but we will work together and do our best to achieve the best results for the citizens of Mercer County.”
– Contact Greg Jordan at [email protected]