WIREGRASS, AL (WSFA) - Wiregrass voters chose to keep county law enforcement consistent, re-electing sheriffs in Coffee, Dale, Houston, and Geneva counties on Tuesday.
In Coffee County, Sheriff Dave Sutton beat Skip Neuwien with 56 percent of votes.
"Thanks to the citizens of Coffee County because without them, I couldn't be re-elected," Sutton said. "That's the bottom line of all of it."
Sutton has served as sheriff for 12 years and says he believes voters recognized his proven leadership skills. He says he will continue to lead the department in proactively addressing issues in the community, continuing "doing the same thing that we've done over 12 years – be prepared and do a good job for the citizens of Coffee County."
In Dale County, Sheriff Wally Olson held on to his position with a landslide victory over Ron Watson. He took 90 percent of the vote.
"For the people to vote and the kind of vote they did – it means a lot," Olson said. "We've got a great sheriff's office. We've got great men and women who work in the sheriff's office and that's something I'm proud of."
Olson says moving forward the department will continue to look for better ways to serve its citizens.
"Crime changes daily; you have to find new methods," said Olson. "We've got to continue to build and work and be willing to face changes as time changes."
In Houston County, Sheriff Donald Valenza won in a 3-man race against former sheriff Andy Hughes and Randy Anderson.
"It was really exciting because it really means the people are behind us," said Valenza, who earned 69 percent of the vote.
He says moving forward, one of his priorities is school safety.
"I'd like to see us be able to hire some more deputies to put in our schools," he said.
In Geneva County, Sheriff Tony Helms is starting his second term in office. He says serving as sheriff has been one of the greatest honors of his career, describing himself as "happy, excited, elated, proud. Happy that the people in Geneva County wanted me to continue to be their sheriff."
Helms earned 60 percent of votes over Pepper Mock.
He says staying in office will allow him to continue working on projects he started, like the neighborhood watch program, and also help the county transition for one of their biggest upcoming projects – building a new county jail.
"We're going to be moving out of a jail that is dilapidated and old into a new, modern facility and that's going to be a big transition to get through," he said.
In Henry County, primary voters selected Jay Henry to run for sheriff. Current Sheriff Will Maddox will be the Democratic candidate on the November ballot.
Henry beat Jay Calhoun in a close race, earning roughly two percent more votes than Calhoun. We reached out to Henry for election reaction and are waiting for a response.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This report has been updated to clarify Henry County Sheriff Will Maddox did not lose re-election, rather he will be the Democratic candidate in November.