WILLIAMSON — For Mingo County Chief Magistrate Dallas “Big Dal” Toler, the 2012 year was an extremely hectic one, having been appointed on Jan. 1 to fill the vacancy left after Eugene Crum resigned his judicial position to seek the office of sheriff. The whirlwind experience for Toler began with classes and training to prepare him for the duties his new job would encompass, but soon included long days of campaigning for the May Primary Election as well.
“It was the busiest year I can ever remember having,” stated Toler. “There were days I was involved in so much with this job that I didn’t have time to sit down. It never slowed down until after the election and then a steady stream of work continued, sometimes border lining on hectic. With all that being said – I just have one comment.”
“I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!”
Toler, who resides at Ragland with his wife Dollie, a registered nurse who was employed with Williamson Memorial Hospital for many years; sons, Raymond and Austin and his nephew David, defines himself as a family man not only by his words, but by his actions.
“My family is the most important thing in the world to me,” said the magistrate. “I feel that if a man – or a woman – for that matter doesn’t care about their own family, them how can you trust them to do what’s right for yours?”
Toler knows the pain of losing a family member, and says that when his brother Ben died last year, it changed his perspective and the way he looks at things.
“Prioritizing how important things are in your life changed for me the day we lost Ben,” commented Toler. “I realized that in the blink of an eye – life as you know it can cease to exist. It made me all too aware that we none of the promise of tomorrow. I cherish my family ever more than I did before. Without them – I’m nothing. My mother, Lorraine, has gone through some issues with her health as well, and this fact gave all of us a shaking up. I want to thank everyone who remembered my family in your prayers.”
Toler hit the ground running when he assumed the magistrates position in 2012, and has not stopped since. He remarked that every day is a learning experience and said that there are no two criminal cases that are ever exactly alike, that ease one is unique in its own way.
“I leave this office every evening having gained more knowledge, training and understanding due to the cases that I ruled upon,” stated Toler. “I’m very grateful to everyone who has assisted me in the last year and who extended a helping hand to me when I didn’t have all the answers. I feel that I have come a long way since the first day I took office and although I know in this job that you never stop learning, I am very comfortable in my judicial role and I’m confident that I have the ability to serve the citizens of Mingo County in a fair, unbiased and just manner.”
When asked what type cases touch his heart or brings out the best in him, Toler was very quick to answer.
“Cases involving child abuse and neglect, drugs and sexual assaults grab my attention faster than anything else. Seeing pictures of children that have been abused rips my heart out. Kids are the only innocent thing left in this world and to see one hurt at the hands of someone that is responsible for their wellbeing in not excusable. I feel strongly that defendants who physically, sexually or emotionally abuse children should be held accountable to the highest extent the law allows.”
“Drugs are a major concern for any law enforcement officer or judicial member of Mingo County,” said Toler. “I am proud to say that within the last few months, we have arraigned numerous individuals that were arrested on drug related charges so I know we’re moving in the right direction. The residents of this county should not have to live in fear that their homes will be broken into or that they’ll be physically harmed by someone that’s looking for their next high. With every arrest, every conviction and sentence, we’re moving one step closer to assuring the peace of mind for those who live here. And we won’t stop until we succeed – that’s a promise.”
Toler asked to extend his gratitude to each and every person who cast their vote for him and trusted him to serve their needs, and said that he has been humbled by the many comments of congratulations that have been voiced to him.
“Without you, I wouldn’t be sitting here behind this desk; I wouldn’t be seated behind the podium in the court room doing my very best to perform these duties to the best of my ability.”
Toler reminds the public that he has an open door policy and pledged to continue his face-to-face and hands-on methods in his role as magistrate that have served him well for the past year.
“I walk through this door a grateful man, and I walk out each day with the same thought. 2013 is going to be a great year for Mingo County, it started off with several new beginnings and it’s up to us to write the story in a way that is respectful and admirable,” concluded the chief magistrate.