CHARLESTON — Jesse Bailes, the newest Kanawha magistrate, was sworn in May 18 to fill the vacancy left last July by Julie Yeager's resignation.
Bailes immediately began his first shift on the job, saying he had a productive first day.
"I was very lucky to have an assignment where I could take in a variety of things," Bailes said. "I did everything from PSOs to search warrants to manning day court in the afternoon. I had really good exposure to many different things."
Bailes said he also had the opportunity to sit on several felony hearings and see how the other magistrates do things.
"This has been great and all of my coworkers have been so helpful and offering up their help and support," Bailes said. "I just really look forward to getting to work."
Bailes said the theme of his campaign was continuing public service after 35 years as a police officer and has always been working toward this goal
"This is the people's court--this is the first involvement with the court system for a lot of individuals," Bailes said. "It is imperative that we be diligent and hardworking and held accountable to the people."
Bailes said as a police officer he had a reputation for being fair and holding people accountable, so it should be an easy transition to this new position.
"It's important to work hard and it's important to be diligent in your efforts because everyone deserves to be heard and everyone deserves to have their cases heard in a timely manner," Bailes said. "It's important to work hard every day and clear your docket. We need to do the best job we can to get things done in a timely and efficient manner."
Bailes said being elected to fill the vacancy left by the previous magistrate is humbling.
"It's very humbling that the people of Kanawha County have given me this opportunity," Bailes said. "I've always tried to help people and be there for people and do my job in a manner where people saw me as professional. I think that by the votes voting me in, it's very humbling and I'm very appreciative that they looked at my career and background and feel that I am deserving of this."
Bailes said he's appreciative that Kanawha County residents have the confidence and trust in him to continue his public service career as a magistrate.
"This is something I have wanted to do for a long time," Bailes said. "I've seen how important this is. I'm going to work hard every day to make those who supported and voted for me proud. And for those who didn't vote for me, I'm going to work hard to change their minds so I can earn their vote next time."
Bailes previously worked as the police chief for Dunbar Police Department. He resigned after the primary May 8.
Bailes will serve the remainder of Yeager's term, which ends Dec. 31, 2020.