Newly elected Liberty County Sheriff, William Bowman was sworn in the morning of Dec. 30, in front of the Liberty County Justice Center in Hinesville before a crowd of well-wishers.
Bowman, retired military and former Georgia State Patrol officer ran for the position against incumbent Sheriff Steve Sikes in the June 2020, General Election. Both men ran in this year’s primary race on the democratic ticket.
Bowman had lost to Sikes in the 2016 General Election in a highly contested race. Bowman challenged the 2016 results in court citing voting irregularities. However, the case was dismissed in court.
Bowman officially takes over the department at one minute after midnight Jan 1, 2021.
He was sworn in early so that he can swear in his deputies as soon as he started his first day on the job.
“What a great day,” Bowman said after being sworn in. “It was your hard work that got me here so I thank you.”
Bowman said he worked hard the past four years in preparation of his second run against Sikes. He said he was thankful for the community’s support.
“I feel relieved,” he said. “I feel great. It is a wonderful time for myself and my family. The citizens of Liberty County wanted change and I know that I can make those changes for the better.”
Bowman said he hasn’t set specific goals yet because he needs to evaluate what the department currently has and what it might need. But he did say he would like to expand the department.
“Because the population has grown quite a bit,” he said.
Bowman said he wants his deputies to be community oriented and interact with the residents of the county as much as possible, not just during a traffic stop or investigation.
Bowman said being community-minded will assist in establishing better relationships and deter events, such as riots, that have happened in other states and cities during troubling times.
“Have them (his deputies) speak to the people,” He said adding there will be times of disagreements but by working together problems can be solved peacefully.
“I want them to know what is going on now wondering what is going on. I want to be pro-active in establishing what policies we have and what is expected of the officers and what is expected from the citizens. We all have our own biases but we all have to learn to work together. Communication is the key.”
He added he plans to work with Liberty County School System Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry so they can bring in more school resource officers into the schools. He said he would like to be more involved in school events and activities.
“I must admit, I am very excited for my husband, my family and this community, Bowman’s wife Tanya said.
Also sworn in was Liberty County Tax Commissioner Virgil Jones and County Coroner Reginald Pierce.