Retired police detective appointed to Cabell magistrate position

April 3, 2019

HUNTINGTON — Retired Huntington Police detective Chris Sperry was appointed Tuesday to fill the Cabell County Magistrate Court vacancy left by now-retired Magistrate Johnny McCallister.

Chief Circuit Court Judge Gregory Howard appointed Sperry in his Cabell County courtroom Tuesday afternoon. A swearing-in ceremony will be April 8 at the courthouse and Sperry should be working in an official capacity by the end of the month.

“I have known Chris for a long time as a detective with the Huntington Police Department and he has an excellent reputation in the judicial system with all of the other judges and magistrates as being diligent, fair and hard-working,” Howard said. “I think he will do a great job serving the people of Cabell County. I look forward to working with him.”

Sperry retired from HPD in August after 25 years with the department, though he has continued to serve in a military placement position.

Born and raised in Huntington, Sperry said since starting as a police officer, it was always his long-term goal to serve as a judge in some capacity. He had already planned to run for a magistrate position when all seven spots are up for re-election in 2020.

“I’ve always tried to be fair to everybody and treat people with respect in hopes that one day it would help,” Sperry said.

Sperry said he sees being a judge as a continuation of what he has always done.

“My goal is to continue being known as a fair person and a respectable person,” Sperry said. “I’ve always tried to do that – whether it’s good guy, bad guy, I’ve always tried to be fair to everyone and respect all.”

He said the police department had been aware of his goals since he retired and supported him.

Chief Magistrate Michael J. Woelfel said Sperry earned the appointment through his dedicated service as a police officer.

“I am confident in his exemplary service will continue for the people of Cabell County as a magistrate,” Woelfel said.

Sperry will take part in training through the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals before starting his duties.

McCallister’s retirement was effective Monday after a 50-year career. Howard said he served the county well and will be missed.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.