COVINGTON -- Bill Watterson announced Monday that he will make a second bid to become sheriff of Newton County.
Watterson, who had worked for the Sheriff's Office for more than 20 years, will face Covington Police Department Capt. Philip Bradford in the July 31 Republican primary. Incumbent Sheriff Ezell Brown has announced he will seek re-election as a Democrat.
Watterson won the Republican primary for sheriff in 2008 but lost in the general election.
In a statement released Monday, Watterson said his goal is to return the Sheriff's Office to the people of Newton County.
"I have lived and learned from past sheriffs like Gerald Malcom and Joe Nichols that the Sheriff's Office is only as effective as the relationship it has with its citizens," Watterson said. "Sheriff Nichols reminded me constantly that the office of the sheriff belonged to the people and he had to answer to them, and that's why he had an open door policy for everyone. The quality of their leadership and their devotion to the people set the example I want to follow."
Watterson said he resigned from the Sheriff's Office in order to run for election.
"I want to make it clear that it was my decision to leave the department because I felt that the Sheriff's Office, under the current administration, has moved away from these core beliefs," Watterson said. "I felt the call to leave to be free to pursue the office of sheriff, not only to better serve the citizens of Newton County, but to also protect the hard-working employees of the current Sheriff's Office. I would like to return the NCSO to a place of fairness, job security and a place where people want to come to work again."
Watterson has worked in numerous divisions during his 23 years with the Sheriff's Office, including detention center, patrol division supervisor, community outreach division, civil division, CHAMPS division, school resource officer division, and vehicle maintenance division. In addition, he has worked in investigations, traffic enforcement/accident reconstruction and the East Metro Drug Enforcement Task Force.
Watterson is a U.S. Air Force and Army reserve veteran and a lifelong resident of Newton County. His wife, Yolonda, is an elementary school teacher in Newton County. They are the parents of two sons, McKenzie, 14, and Micah, 11.