Candidates for the Bulloch County sheriff’s race will meet Tuesday, July 17, for a debate, which is open to the public and will also be available for viewing online.
Hosted by the Statesboro Herald and Ogeechee Technical College, the debate will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Joe Kennedy Auditorium at OTC. The auditorium is in the college’s main administration building.
A meet-and-greet will be held beforehand, starting at 6:30 p.m.
All three candidates – challengers Tommy Sisson and Keith Howard as well as incumbent Sheriff Lynn Anderson, have confirmed they expect to participate.
"We believe it is important to give the community a chance to hear the candidates, and watch them respond to the important issues of law enforcement by the sheriff's office," said Jim Healy, the operations manager for the Statesboro Herald. "We hope the public takes the opportunity to meet the candidates for this important office."
Both Howard and Sisson are former Georgia State Patrol troopers.
Howard has said he is running for the position because there are several areas in which he would like to see change.
Accessibility and jail operations are concerns he has.
He also said he would like to see a satellite office in the Brooklet area.
“I’d like to see it back like it was in the Arnold Ray Akins, Paul Nevil, Harold Howell days,” he said, calling the names of former sheriffs who served before Anderson. “But with 21st-century technology.”
Anderson expects to talk about his department’s strong track record with solving robbery, burglary and other major cases.
Also, he pointed out the department’s user-friendly modes of communication such as a Facebook page, website, tip lines and crime mapping.
Sisson has said he will not discuss current leadership, adding that he intends to run a clean campaign without criticism.
“I’m not going to sit here and tell you what is wrong — I’m going to tell you what I’ll do” should he be elected, he said.
Anderson said he has been with the sheriff’s department for 32 years, all under leadership of Akins, whom he said was his mentor.
“Are we perfect? No, but we try to be,” Anderson said of his department and employees. “I would like to continue to serve the people of Bulloch County.”
That includes continuing projects such as DARE programs for students and the Child ID program.
Sisson said if elected sheriff, his plan includes having a strong presence in the schools, in the community, and being accessible to the public.
“Under my leadership we would work with all public safety agencies, making sure our office would coordinate and work with them to ensure the people and property of Bulloch County is protected to the fullest extent,” Sisson said.
Howard retired from the Georgia State Patrol, where he worked for most of his 20 years in law enforcement. He worked for a year as chief deputy of the Jenkins County Sheriff’s Office before returning to the GSP, where he later retired after a shoulder injury. He owns Bulloch Port-a-Potty.
Sisson retired from the Georgia State Patrol in January to run for sheriff. He served more than 30 years with the GSP, Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office and Statesboro Fire Department. He is on the staff at Pittman Park United Methodist Church.
Anderson has been with the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department for 32 years and has no other employment.
"I don’t have the time,” he said.
All three candidates are Republicans. The sheriff’s race is a partisan race.
Holli Deal Bragg maybe reached at (912) 489-9414.