BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A career law enforcement officer will be sworn in as Raleigh County Sheriff on December 29, 2022, following a special meeting of Raleigh County Commission on Tuesday, December 27, 2022.

James Canaday, who is currently chief of deputies for Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office, will assume the final two years of outgoing sheriff Scott Van Meter’s term.

Van Meter was elected Raleigh County Clerk in the November general election and will be sworn in to his office on December 29, 2022, according to Raleigh County Administrator Jay Quesenberry.

Raleigh County Commissioner Linda K. Epling said she and fellow commissioners, Greg Duckworth and President David Tolliver, appointed Canaday because of his extensive criminal justice background.

Canaday, a Woodrow Wilson High School graduate, said that he grew up in Raleigh County before earning an undergraduate degree at Concord University and a master’s degree at The University of Cincinnati.

Canaday worked with Van Meter to influence design plans for a new Raleigh County Sheriff’s headquarters, which is currently under construction at Pinecrest Industrial Park.

He has a strong background in criminal investigations and worked with Van Meter to expand the Sheriff’s Department and to investigate and make arrests in internet crimes against children.

Canaday said his goal is to continue the effort to protect children and to also continue drug arrests. He will potentially add a new K-9 to the department, he said.

“I would like to continue to grow the Sheriff’s Department,” said Canaday. “We’re getting ready to move into a new building. I would like to increase our manpower. We’ve been working with the Raleigh County Commission over the past few years to do that.”

Canaday said he has not yet considered whether he will run for office in the next election.