Bowie County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jeff Neal will be the next Bowie County Sheriff.
Neal beat out Constable George Huggins Jr 7,349 to 5,233. Neal will take office January 1.
Neal plans to continue to advance the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office into the future by upgrading technology as the budget allows. “I began working for the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office in 2006. When I first started we were still taking photographs with disposable cameras and having the film developed. I made a push for us to obtain digital cameras and we were eventually able to get one for every deputy. Ultimately, deputies were able to store their photos directly to a server from their patrol unit. This is not only quicker for deputies allowing them to stay patrolling their assigned area; it is also a cost savings for the county. Patrol deputies did not have computers in their units when I came to the county either. Using grant monies combined with our budget I worked with IT to ensure this much need equipment was purchased and deployed. Most recently, we upgraded the cameras in our patrol units as well as added body cameras for every deputy. This allows us to capture digital evidence that is crucial in the prosecution of our cases. We can also share this evidence with the District Attorney’s Office and partner law enforcement agencies from a cloud based platform without the need to save it to external media. These progressions have been a long process and have not been without a few bumps in the road. However, we are in much better shape now than at any point in my service with Bowie County. To keep up with the criminal element we must stay current in technology training and equipment,” Chief Deputy Neal said.
When asked during his campaign about his qualifications, Neal said, “I have 30 years of combined law enforcement experience. I served four years in the United States Army Military Police Corps, 13 years with the Texarkana Texas Police Department and the last 13 years with the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office where I am currently employed. 16 of these years have been in either supervisory or administrative positions. Most recently, I have had the privilege of serving as the Chief Deputy of the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office for the past six years.”
During his years of service, Chief Deputy Neal has strived to be a life long learner earning his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University – Texarkana in December of 2013 and most recently becoming the first Bowie County deputy to complete the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas’ flagship program known as Leadership Command College as part of the 82nd graduating class.
Neal said he also currently holds a master peace officer’s and a jailer’s license through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). He is also a TCOLE certified instructor.
When asked about why he decided to run for sheriff, Neal said, “I was asked once in the past about maybe running for sheriff someday. At that point in my career I had not really given it much thought. This conversation sparked an interest in me that I really did not know was there prior to that time. I spoke with Sheriff Prince about this possibility and he began to mentor me. I am very grateful for the years I have been able to work with and learn from him. I have watched as he has served and been available to the citizens of our county. Now that he is retiring, it would be an absolute honor to serve as Bowie County Sheriff and continue to carry the torch forward.”
Neal mentioned manpower as being another area of concern that he would like to see grow. “Right now, we are working with less manpower than when I joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2006. I would like to work with Bowie County administrators to restore these positions as the County’s budget allows. This would add a deputy to each shift giving the citizens of Bowie County the law enforcement coverage they deserve,” Chief Deputy Neal said.
“When I came back to Bowie County after serving in the military, I knew this is where I wanted to raise my family and I have spent the last 26 years doing so. God has certainly blessed and been faithful to my family and I, both through the good and bad times we have experienced. I firmly believe that He is the one who has led me to this point in my career and is now leading me to run for this office,” Chief Deputy Neal concluded.