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Kanawha names deputy of year

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A deputy who spent hours negotiating with a man who had barricaded himself in his house with a loaded shotgun was named Kanawha County Sheriff's Department Deputy of the Year on Thursday.

In November, Cpl. John Ratliff, a nine-year veteran of the sheriff's department, was one of the first deputies on the scene of a domestic disturbance on West Main Street near St. Albans, Sheriff Johnny Rutherford told members of the Kanawha County Commission at a regular meeting Thursday.

Rutherford told commissioners Kent Carper, Dave Hardy and Hoppy Shores that a man had barricaded himself in his house with his family, and had a shotgun. Rutherford said Ratliff talked with the man for hours.

At one point, the man pointed the shotgun at his own head and said he would kill himself or anyone who tried to come in the house. But Rutherford said Ratliff was able to talk the man down, "saving his life and saving his family's."

Acccording to sheriff's department spokesman Cpl. Brian Humphreys, "[Ratliff] is not a trained hostage negotiator. But he developed a rapport with the guy, and they decided to keep him in."

Ratliff said it was nice to be recognized, but he didn't become a deputy for recognition. "It's just what we do," he said.

Also Thursday, commissioners agreed to allow Dunbar Police Chief Earl Whittington to trade in 21 service pistols the county gave the Dunbar Police Department when the town of Jefferson was dissolved. Whittington is trading the .40 caliber Glock 22 pistols, all of which are more than 10 years old, for 20 new pistols.

Reach Rusty Marks at or 304-348-1215.



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