Sumter Co. elects first African-American sheriff

Sumter Co. elects first African-American sheriff

AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Sumter County made history on Election Day by electing the county’s first African-American sheriff.

“I’m overly excited, anxious, looking forward to the responsibility of the role of sheriff of Sumter County, Georgia and most importantly, I’m blessed,” Col. Eric Bryant said.

Bryant is chief deputy and interim sheriff in Sumter County. He made history Tuesday night after being elected the first African-American sheriff for the county.

“I’m excited to be able to make history here in Sumter County, Georgia and also look forward to encouraging other African-American males that they too can make a difference,” Bryant said of his win.

Bryant was the Democratic candidate in the race. He beat out his Republican counterpart, Phillip Daniel, with 69 percent of the vote Tuesday night.

“I’d like to thank my opponent. I think we had an awesome campaign together. We kept everything professional like it should have been" said Bryant.

Bryant has been chief deputy since 2005 after being hired by the late Pete Smith.

Bryant said he’s anxious to get to work as sheriff and said he already knows what he wants to do once he takes over the role full time.

"But one of the primary objectives would be to hopefully be able to actively recruit qualified applicants to fill some of the vacancies there at the office and then, of course, from that point with a full staff, we’ll look into different types of programs to not only prevent crime but also to make sure crime is kept down,” Bryant said.

The sheriff-elect pointed out that those programs would involve a variety of community organizations.

Bryant said he took some time off the day after the election to pick up his campaign signs that were spread throughout the county.

He starts his new role as Sumter County sheriff on January 1, 2021.

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