Turman elected sheriff

Published 2:12 am Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Overcomes primary deficit to defeat incumbent

Covington County voters cast their ballots for change Tuesday, electing a new sheriff for the first time since 2006.

Challenger Blake Turman, who ran second in a three-man field in June, added 1,601 votes to his June totals to defeat incumbent Dennis Meeks in the Republican runoff Tuesday. Turman received 4,600 votes to Meeks’ 3,666. Because there was no Democratic candidate, Turman will not face an opponent on November’s general election ballot. However, he will not take office until January.

Turman said he’ll spend the next six months “buttoning up” his career with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency as he prepares to retire from the Alabama state troopers.

“I’ll also be reviewing sheriff’s department policy,” he said. “We will also be assessing personnel, and department strengths and weaknesses.

“But no one should fear for his job,” Turman said.

Turman announced early on that, if elected, Todd Grimes would serve as his chief deputy.

“Todd will be part of all of this,” Turman said of the planning process.

Meeks, who was the first person in 50 years to be elected to a third term as sheriff in Covington County, said he’s proud of his record in office, as well as being the only sheriff who’s ever worked in every division of the department.

“We’ve got a lot to take care of yet,” he said of the next few months. “There are a lot of things I’ll miss about this job. But I won’t miss the late night calls, the death notifications, and burying deputies.”

Two Covington County deputies have died during Meeks’ time in office, both as the result of traffic accidents.

“We tried to do a lot of things, and a lot people never knew about,” Meeks said. “Some people (in this election) said I was in it for the limelight. Being in front of the camera can be part of the job, but that’s not what I liked.”

Meeks often joked that more people voted for his wife, Althea, than for him.

“My wife has been my rock, and she has been the whole time,” Meeks said. “When I was on the road, and an investigator, she always supported me. There were a lot of late nights, but she was always there.”