Three Republican candidates, including the incumbent, are running a hot and heavy campaign for the Bulloch County sheriff’s seat.
Incumbent Lynn Anderson faces challengers Tommy Sisson and Keith Howard in the Tuesday primary election.
Since the Bulloch County sheriff’s race is partisan, and all candidates are Republican, those voting a straight Democratic or nonpartisan ticket won’t be able to vote in the race.
Both Howard and Sisson are former Georgia State Patrol troopers, and both claim change is needed in the office. Anderson said his record shows an impressive ratio of solved crimes, improvements and a safe county.
Howard said he is running for the position because there are several areas in which he would like to see change.
In speaking with attorneys and family members of those in the Bulloch County Jail, he said concerns about the jai operations have arisen. Also, “when people come in the front office, I want people there who can tell them where the sheriff is, not just that he is not there,” Howard said.
He said he disagrees with the amount of radar use and speeding tickets written by the sheriff’s department.
“As many thefts and burglaries as we have, deputies need to be riding the back roads,” Howard said.
But Anderson said he feels his department has a strong track record with solving robbery, burglary and other major cases.
“I think we have a pretty good record over the last 12 years (he has been in office),” he said. “If you look at all we have done, that has been reported in the news, we have been very proactive.”
His office makes use of social media and technology to solve crimes, and the department’s Facebook page has helped deputies locate missing persons as well as those wanted for crimes.
Under Anderson’s leadership, the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department has created user-friendly modes of communication including the Facebook page, website, tip lines, crime mapping and more, he said.
Sisson said he intends to be a highly accessible sheriff, hoping to improve all areas of the office. He said he was not going to address what has been done under the current leadership, but 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. “I would bring a cooperative leadership style based on one thing; to always do the right thing,” he said.
Accessibility, cooperation with other agencies, and community involvement are areas he hopes to address if elected.
Anderson said he has been with the sheriff’s department for 32 years, many under the leadership of former Sheriff Arnold Ray Akins, who 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, he said.
Sisson said he would promote a strong presence in schools and have more community-oriented policing. That 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 also said he would like to see a closer relationship between the sheriff’s department and the community.
“I want people to feel like it is their department,” he said.
Sisson and his wife, Molly, have three children. He retired from the Georgia State Patrol in January to run for sheriff and served more than 30 years with the GSP, Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office and Statesboro Fire Department. He is on staff at Pittman Park United Methodist Church.
Howard retired from the Georgia State Patrol, where he worked for most of his 20 years in law enforcement. He enjoyed a year-long stint as the Jenkins County Sheriff’s Office’s chief deputy before returning to the GSP, where he later retired after a shoulder injury. He is married and he and his wife, Gail, have a son and a daughter. He owns Bulloch Port-a-Potty.
Anderson and his wife, Becky, have two adult children and two grandchildren. He has no other employment besides being sheriff.
"I don’t have the time,” he said.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.