The candidates seeking election as Bulloch County’s next sheriff will participate in a forum on Thursday, Oct. 13, inside the Ogeechee Technical College auditorium. Sponsored by the Statesboro Herald, the forum is set for 7–8 p.m.
Keith Howard, running as a Democrat, confirmed last week that he will attend. De Strickland, campaign manager for Republican candidate Noel Brown, confirmed to the Herald that Brown will attend as well.
Brown has promised “accessibility and accountability” in his campaign, as well as increased pay for sheriff’s employees. He has said that he would eliminate overtime for those in higher ranks, who he would like to see on salary.
Howard said that he seeks to unify the department, which experienced a division during Brown’s successful campaign against former candidate Jared Akins, currently Bulloch County’s chief deputy. He also promises to be a “good steward” of Bulloch County taxpayers’ money, to retain all current employees if they wish to continue working with the Sheriff’s Office, and to maintain the department’s momentum as far as keeping current with modern technology and community relationships.
A Portal High School graduate, Brown served in the Air Force from 1989–93, fueling airplanes during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
He joined the Georgia Southern University Police Department as a patrol officer in 1993 and left as a corporal in July 1998 to become a road patrol deputy with the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office. He received field training officer certification in 2002 and was promoted to corporal and assistant shift supervisor before later being assigned to the department’s Court Services Division and then being transferred to that division’s civil and warrants section, where he remains as sergeant.
Howard graduated from Statesboro High School and Swainsboro Technical College and attended Brenau University, with college hours in criminal justice.
He joined the Georgia State Patrol as a dispatcher in 1984, went to trooper school in Forsyth in 1987 and then went to work as a state trooper. After his retirement from the GSP, Howard began working with the late Jenkins County Sheriff Bobby Womack, serving as chief deputy for about two years until taking a break from law enforcement to focus on his private businesses. He said that he has more than 3,000 training hours in multiple facets of law enforcement.
He chose to run on the Democratic ticket instead of splitting votes three ways in the Republican primary, but he said that if he is elected, his service to the citizens won’t be partisan.
The debate will begin with introductions, followed by questions. Candidates will not be given questions before the debate.
“Candidates will be given two minutes each to introduce themselves,” said Jim Healy, Statesboro Herald operations manager. “They then will be asked a series of questions relating to their candidacy and issues facing the Sheriff’s Office and the county, alternating in order of who answered a question first.”
Candidates will have up to two minutes to respond to each question. Finally, candidates will be given two minutes each to make a closing statement, he said.
Questions will come from the Statesboro Herald and from a selection of questions submitted at the forum by those in the audience.
The forum is open to the public and will be broadcast live at statesboroherald.com. It also will be available to watch on demand at statesboroherald.com the day after the forum.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.