00:48 - Source: CNN
Widow sworn in as sheriff

Story highlights

Rosie Crum steps in for her husband after he was killed

She will be sheriff through the end of next year

The mother of two was active in local politics

Crum, who lacks law enforcement experience; will have "plenty of help"

(CNN) —  

Many people in Mingo County, West Virginia, likely know Rosie Crum the way that Frances Crawford does.

The two women, both active in local politics, are friendly. They stop to talk when they see each other.

But folks in Mingo County are about to get a whole lot closer to Crum, who was appointed sheriff Thursday by the county’s commissioners.

The former sheriff, Crum’s husband, was shot and killed this week.

“She’s a good person,” Crawford said about Crum. “She’s always seemed like a strong person too.”

According to County Commissioner David Baisden, Crum was born and raised in Mingo County. She met her husband, Eugene Crum, when she was 14, and they married in 1975.

The Crums have two children – a son and a daughter, both grown – and grandchildren.

“They have been a pillar in the community and done everything that they felt was the right thing to do, and we feel this is the right thing for us to do,” Baisden said about Crum’s appointment.

She’ll serve out the rest of her husband’s term, which runs through the end of next year.

Crum has prior no law enforcement experience, but she will have “plenty of help,” Baisden said.

Williamson Police Chief Dave Rockel will “manage the law enforcement end” of the sheriff’s department, he explained.

John Mark Hubbard, president of the Mingo County Commission, said Crum’s appointment is like an extension of her husband’s legacy. The commission voted unanimously.

“We have the full support of the sheriff’s department, right down to every man that we spoke to as a deputy, and their support for this is overwhelming. Now we ask for your support.”

’She lost everything’

Crum was sworn in as sheriff on Thursday night at the county courthouse, just blocks from where her husband was shot.

She did not speak, but she hugged 22 deputies who came to the ceremony, Hubbard said.

Baisden said he met with Crum earlier in the day, and that she was understandably emotional. He explained another part of the rationale behind her appointment.

“She lost everything she had. She lost her husband, and would have lost a paycheck,” he said.

“We told her we felt like this is the sure way that we could take care of her until she got on her feet.”

An election to replace Crum is set to be held in May 2014. Whoever wins will take office on January 1, 2015.

Photographs of the new sheriff on her Facebook page show a woman with an easy smile. She holds a paintbrush in one picture – a dog, a baby and her husband tight in others.

Justin Marcum, an assistant prosecutor in Mingo County, said having Crum step into her husband’s shoes should help in the healing process.

“Everyone here in the community knows her. It’s small town U.S.A., and it will help us overcome the void that’s in our hearts,” he said.

“It’s just a symbolic way that we can move forward and get past this tragedy.”

CNN’s Susan Candiotti and Ross Levitt contributed to this report.