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Freeman beats Bittick to become Monroe sheriff

Freeman defeats Bittick in runoff to become next Sheriff of Monroe County

Brad Freeman speaks about his plans for the Monroe County sheriff's office at his home Tuesday night after defeating Lawson Bittick in a runoff election to become the next sheriff.
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Brad Freeman speaks about his plans for the Monroe County sheriff's office at his home Tuesday night after defeating Lawson Bittick in a runoff election to become the next sheriff.

Brad Freeman beat Lawson Bittick on Tuesday to become the next sheriff of Monroe County.

With all precincts counted, Freeman had 4,016 votes, or 56 percent, to 3,101 votes, or 44 percent, for Bittick. The turnout was 39 percent.

Bittick, a lieutenant in the sheriff’s office, was bidding to follow in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather to serve as Monroe sheriff. Freeman, a captain in the sheriff’s office, worked for 32 years under Bittick’s father, who resigned earlier this year to become U.S. marshal for the Middle District of Georgia.

During the runoff campaign, Bittick, 30, advocated for increasing the investigation division of the sheriff office while Freeman, 54, put more emphasis on increasing patrols.

“We had virtually the same number of people patrolling the county in 1986 as we do today,” Freeman said. “When I started there were 15,000 people in the county and now there 27,000.”

Freeman also said technology is an area he would like to improve. He said the department is just now starting to get computers in patrol cars and he wants to continue that.

In the general election held Nov. 6, Bittick was the top vote getter in the 6-way race with 3,937 votes, or 31 percent. Freeman was second with 2,974 votes, or 24 percent.

With it being a special election to fill an unexpired term, Freeman will take office as soon as the election is certified and he is sworn in. He would then be up for election again in two years.

Freeman said his chief deputy would be someone currently serving within the department, but he declined to say who that would be so as not to create any animosity within the office.

Lawson Bittick III and Brad Freeman will face each other in a runoff for sheriff of Monroe County on Dec. 4. The winner will take office immediately after the election is certified because it is for an unexpired term.

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