Wood County names new 911 director

PARKERSBURG – A captain in the Wood County Sheriff’s Department Monday was named the new 911 director by the county commission.

Capt. Rick Woodyard, acting chief deputy in the sheriff’s office, was unanimously chosen by the county commissioners on the recommendation of Commissioner Steve Gainer.

Gainer, a former fire chief, conducted interviews with the two candidates, Woodyard and interim 911 director Carl Sizemore. Gainer is the commission liaison to the Wood County 911 Advisory Board.

Woodyard is serving as chief deputy until Chief Deputy Shawn Graham returns from the FBI Academy. Graham will graduate March 28.

Sizemore, who was the only other in-house applicant for the job, will remain at 911 as deputy director.

“For the past month and a half we have been considering this, we had two well-qualified candidates for the job and it has been a very difficult decision,” Gainer said Monday. “I would like to recommend we keep both on board, I talked to both last Thursday and they both agreed.”

“Rick has a huge amount of knowledge on the law enforcement side and is well acquainted with communications issues,” Commissioner Blair Couch said.

“I want to thank the commissioners for the trust and confidence you’ve shown in me,” Woodyard told the county officials.

Woodyard said he’s looking forward to working with Sizemore.

A 36-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, Woodyard said he started with the department at the age of 19.

“I have been involved in every aspect of the sheriff’s office from process serving on. Years ago we worked the holding center as a jail, we dispatched our own officers so I worked as a dispatcher for awhile. I worked in the Detective Bureau and later went on to the Parkersburg Violent Crimes and Narcotics Task Force for 11 years. I’ve had a very fulfilling career with the sheriff’s department, there are some wonderful people down,” Woodyard said.

“I look forward to expanding my career and moving onto a different direction,” he said.

Woodyard said he doesn’t plan any major changes in personnel or operations at the Core Road 911 Center.

“I think the facility has been well-run. I think they have a great staff, they are well-trained. Being on the other side of the dispatching – I think they do a tremendous job out there, so I’m just wanting to go in and find ways to enhance that enhance the strengths. We can examine the weaknesses and see what we can do to strengthen any weaknesses we may find,” Woodyard said.

Couch said there has been no discussion of salary, noting it will be among the topics for discussion when budget talks begin in March. County officials said Sizemore had been working at the same salary he received as deputy director while serving in the interim position.

According to county records, when he left, Lowe’s annual salary was $54,454. At his current post, Sizemore’s salary is $40,414.

Former 911 Director Randy Lowe’s resignation was effective Jan. 6. Due to accrued vacation time he was paid through the end of January, according to county officials. Lowe left the 911 center to take a job in private industry.

On Dec. 30, the commissioners unanimously voted to name Sizemore as Interim 911 Director.

Following notification of Lowe’s resignation, the commissioners decided to advertise the post internally first.

The deadline for submitting resumes was Jan. 15. The two applicants were initially interviewed by the county administrator and Gainer. After a recommendation was made, the other two commissioners were to individually conduct interviews.

During an earlier interview with The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, Lowe said he would cooperate fully with the new director and make himself available for questions or information as needed.

Lowe was the fifth director at the 911 Center. He served in that capacity for nine years. Prior to coming to work as 911 director, Lowe was a police officer for more than 20 years. He had recommended Sizemore as his replacement.