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Familiar showdown in sheriff’s race

Voters will see a familiar choice when they head to the polls in Chambers County Tuesday to decide who they want as their sheriff.

On the Democratic ticket, incumbent Sheriff Sid Lockhart is looking for his seventh term in office, while Republican Chad Roberts is making another attempt to pull an upset with his third bid at the sheriff’s seat.

Lockhart started his career in law enforcement in the sheriff reserves in the sheriff’s department. He then moved on to the jail, then to Lanett as a police officer. When Valley incorporated in 1980, he took a job as an officer there.

About six years later, Lockhart was offered a job again at Chambers County and worked his way up to investigator. Eventually, he became an investigator for the district attorney. After a couple more years, he took a job as chief deputy in Chambers County and was elected as sheriff for the first time in 1994.

With a win Tuesday, Lockhart would be in line to be in the longest-tenured sheriff in the county, assuming that title from his predecessor James C. Morgan.

Roberts is a graduate of Valley High School and was most recently employed by the Heard County, Georgia sheriff’s office. The Valley Times-News made several attempts to reach Roberts but was unsuccessful. However, at a candidate forum in LaFayette this past summer, Roberts said Chambers County had its share of problems.

He said there are issues with unsolved murders and drug gangs running throughout the county. He said he’s capable of the kind of law enforcement training that could get a handle on the problem.

“The drug dealers are ruling the streets,” he said.

Lockhart said throughout the years, his administration has evolved the sheriff’s office, with a specific focus on the drug problem. He pointed to the Chambers County multi-jurisdictional drug task force formed several years ago consisting of officers throughout the county.

“That is probably our most pressing thing,” Lockhart said. “It is sad about the drug problem that we have today. It leads to people breaking into homes and forging checks.”

Being visible and getting involved with community affairs is also a big part of Lockhart’s campaign for sheriff.

He said while in office, his department has hosted several cookouts and fundraising for individuals in need.

“I believe in giving back to the community,” he said. “We are going to keep working hard and keep doing what we do now.”