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Kingwood Trooper retires after 27-plus years in law enforcement

After 27 1/2 years of service as a West Virginia State Trooper, Sergeant John Wyatt retired Friday.

“It’s a big relief to make it across the finish line,” said Wyatt, who most recently served as commander of the Kingwood State Police Detachment.

Wyatt, a Philip Barbour High School and West Virginia University graduate, served in the U.S. Marine Corps before enlisting with the state police in May 1995.

“There are just so many cases I’ve worked here with the sheriff’s department and other agencies — it’s a great place to work,” he said.

“One of the biggest cases I worked in Preston County was a murder back in the 2000s, the Nathaniel King case,” the sergeant recalled. “It ended being a federal case and it came to a successful conclusion with federal prison time.”

During his career, Wyatt also served as detachment commander in Franklin and Philippi and assistant detachment commander in Morgantown.

As the Kingwood commander, Wyatt helped to grow the detachment from six troopers to nine, with more on their way.

Sergeant A.S. Taylor, who worked with Wyatt as assistant detachment director, said nine officers is the most Kingwood has ever had, due, in part, to Wyatt.

“We just got orders the other day that two more troopers are coming on top of that,” Taylor said.  “And that is just a testament to his leadership.”

Taylor, who will take over as detachment commander, said he has mixed emotions to see his friend of over 20 years move on.

“I’m looking forward to some good things on the horizon, but I’m sad to see him go,” Taylor said.  “He’s definitely earned his retirement and I hope that he’s happy in what he is doing next — it’ll be a big change for him because he is a very hard worker and a very nonstop guy.  

“I don’t know that he sleeps — he just waits,” Taylor joked.

That hard-working, nonstop attitude is not something Wyatt plans to bring into retirement, saying he saw retirement as a “good opportunity to go get a job.”

“I start a new job Monday morning with the Insurance Commission as an investigator, so I got a job lined up,” he said of his “retirement” plans.

With Taylor taking over as detachment commander, a trooper from the Huntington area will arrive soon to fill the assistant commander role.

“I think that he and I are going to get along famously,” Taylor said with a smile, “but I’ll always miss John.  He will always be my favorite for sure.”

As he turns to a new chapter in his life, Wyatt said, “I just appreciate the support of — it’s been a good place to work.”

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