COBB COUNTY, Ga. — There’s a new sheriff in town. Well, in three counties to be more specific.
Georgia has elected three men who are the first Black sheriffs in the history of their counties.
Craig Owens has declared victory over Sheriff Neil Warren in Cobb County and Keybo Taylor beat out Luis Solis in Gwinnett. In Henry County, Reginald Scandrett defeated Jack Redlinger.
Channel 2 Action News will have live streaming election coverage throughout the day Thursday. Download the WSB Now app on your Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV to watch LIVE.
Channel 2 Cobb County bureau chief Chris Jose was in Cobb County where Owens, a major in the police department, defeated Warren by a margin of 54.7% to 45.2%, a difference of nearly 35,000 people.
Fresh off of his victory, Owens chose Channel 2 Action News as his first interview.
“It’s music to my ears,” Owens said. “I’ve been waiting for this for well over a year."
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“We have an opportunity to make history and that’s something we don’t take lightly,” Owens said late Tuesday night. “We’re gonna come in prepared being the professionals that we are and we’re gonna run this county like it should be. We’re going to treat everybody in this county with dignity and respect.”
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In Gwinnett, Taylor received 57% of the vote. Solis received 43%. Taylor will take over for retiring Sheriff Butch Conway.
In Henry, Scandrett received 60.3% of the vote. Redlinger received 39.7%.
Owens said he believes the victories of all three men shows the metro Atlanta area’s changing dynamics and diversity.
“I think that will show a young black man, or a female, that they could also be the sheriff one day,” Owens said.
The results of the election are not official until Nov. 13, when they will be certified by the Cobb County Board of Elections.
Owens said he plans to do the job differently that his predecessor, Warren who had been in the seat since 2003 when he was appointed interim sheriff.
Warren had come under fire in the past year over conditions at the Cobb County Jail after several inmates died in custody. He has also faced lawsuits and ethics investigations during his time in office.
“We’re gonna do things differently in Cobb. We’re gonna do things the right way,” Owens said. “You can see how much Cobb has changed. And I think Cobb was due for a change.”
Owens said he plans to do a full assessment of the jail the moment he takes office in January.