NEW BOSTON, Texas — New Boston Police Department Investigator and Precinct 2 Constable George W. Huggins has announced his candidacy for Bowie County Sheriff.
Huggins has served with the Texarkana, Texas, Police Department and Bowie County Sheriff's Office and is an Army veteran.
Filing runs through Dec. 9 for the March 2020 primary election. Bowie County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jeff Neal has also announced his candidacy for sheriff on the Republican ticket.
"After much consideration and prayer, I am proud and honored to announce my candidacy for Bowie County Sheriff on the Republican ticket. I have lived in Bowie County my entire adult life, and attended school in Malta, New Boston and DeKalb, where I graduated from," Huggins said. "I have over 27 years of law enforcement experience — 24 years in some type of supervisory role — and I hold a Master Peace Officer License. I currently serve the local Child Protective Services as an active board member, and have for the past several years," Huggins said.
Huggins credits Bowie County Sheriff James Prince with encouraging him to run for sheriff a number of years ago.
"He was one of the first people to put it in my head to run. And then, when I ran for constable, a lot of people encouraged me to run for sheriff but I would not do it then because of my loyalty to Sheriff Prince," he said.
Huggins spent seven years on active duty with the United States Army.
"I am a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm, graduated from Air Assault School, graduated from Primary Leadership Development Course and I have held several leadership positions from team leader to acting platoon sergeant," he said.
In September 1992, he was hired by the Texarkana, Texas, Police Department, where he served seven years. During his time, Huggins was awarded two lifesaving awards, selected as Officer of the Year in 1995, and served as a training officer for five years.
In October 1999, Huggins went to work for the Bowie County Sheriff's Department, under then-Sheriff Mary Choate. He served 19 years with the Sheriff's Department, three years as an investigator, and 15 years as a patrol lieutenant. In October 2018, he took a position as an investigator with the New Boston Police Department, where he is currently employed.
"For the past seven years, I have held a dual commission. I was elected as the Constable of Precinct 2 in 2012. My main duty as a constable is the chief process server of the Justice Courts, primarily serving civil papers. The job requirements and descriptions are similar to those of the Sheriff's Department. One big difference is that the sheriff is responsible for the jail, whereas a constable is not. Another difference is that the sheriff has over 30 deputies to assist him and, as constable, I have no deputies. My current office is also required to submit the same annual reports as any other law enforcement agency in the state."
Long before he ever had the desire to run for office, Huggins said he had an active role in the community. He was one of the driving forces that brought Shop with a Cop to Bowie County.
"I applaud the efforts of both the Texarkana police departments and fire departments for continuing to support this program. I also helped establish the West Bowie County Youth Football and Cheer League. I coached and sat on the board as a commissioner for 12 years, even though I never had a kid playing in the league," Huggins said.
In his 19 years with the Bowie Sheriff's Department, the two major complaints from the citizens were always drugs and visibility of deputies, Huggins said.
If elected, he would like to regain lost deputy positions.
"Drugs are a nationwide epidemic, and I believe Bowie County does have its share of drugs in our communities. As it stands now, the only drugs being taken off the streets are mainly by the patrol division. Working drug interdiction is very time consuming and it takes surveillance time. If the beat units are working surveillance, then they do not have the personnel patrolling, which leads to complaints about never seeing deputies. Also, keep in mind, that each West end deputy has about 300 square miles of area to cover. My goal is to regain the positions that we lost a few years ago, and go from four beats to six beats. This will allow a faster response time for calls and allow the deputies to be more proactive instead of reactive. It would also make it safer for both the citizens and deputies," he said.
Huggins lives in Malta with his wife, Delane, and two daughters, Maddie, 13, and Mollie, 10. The family attends Malta Baptist Church. He also has two adult sons, Jonathan Huggins and Cody Huggins.