Newton County sheriff says he doesn’t plan to run for re-election in 2020

Current Newton County chief deputy served as interim sheriff in 2014

Newton County sheriff says he doesn’t plan to run for re-election in 2020
Pictured are Newton County Chief Deputy Cynthia Hall and Sheriff Billy Rowles. (Source:

NEWTON COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Newton County Sheriff Billy Rowles announced that he is not planning to run for re-election in 2020. Cynthia Hall, his chief deputy, will be running for the office.

According to a story, Rowles, who is now 74, is in his first and only term as the Newton County Sheriff. The story also said that he ran against Hall in 2016 and made her his chief deputy after he won the race.

“I done got too old,” Rowles said with a laugh Wednesday morning. “It’s time for me to move on. I’m going to do what I can to help my chief deputy get elected.”

Rowles said he has been in law enforcement for more than 50 years. He said he was commissioned as a law enforcement officer in 1968 and that throughout his career, he has worked as a Texas Department of Public Safety state trooper, a constable, the Newton police chief, and the Newton County sheriff.

“Sheriff Rowles has taught me patience and how to be graceful even under pressure,” Hall said in a written statement. “Sheriff Rowles is a true Texas Sheriff.”

The story said he also served as the Jasper County sheriff for several years.

Terri Woods, the administrative coordinator for the Newton County History Center, Museum & Genealogy Library, said if Hall is elected sheriff, she will be the first woman elected to that position in the county’s history.

In her statement, Hall said that she is 61 and has lived in Burkeville since the age of 2. She also said she has 19 years of experience as a law enforcement officer.

In her statement, Hall said that she was certified as an emergency medical technician in 1991 and worked as a first responder in Newton County for 20 years.

Hall said she started working at the Newton County Correctional prison in 1999 and then started with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office in 2000 as jailer dispatcher. Two years later, she became a jail captain.

Hall attended the Angelina Police Academy in Lufkin in 2004 and went to work as a part-time deputy in August of 2004. A month later, then-Sheriff Joe Walker offered her a job as a full-time deputy.

Sheriff Powell taught me the love of the job,” Hall said in her statement. “In late 2004, Sheriff Joe Walker took the reins and I was blessed to work for him until 2012. Sheriff Walker taught me how to do the job.”

Hall said that she worked as a deputy for Newton County Sheriff Eddie Shannon from 2012 to 2015. In her statement, she also said she has worked as a Newton County bailiff and is currently a reserve officer for the Newton Police Department.

According to the story, the Newton County Commissioners Court asked hall to serve as the interim sheriff in August of 2014 after a grand jury indicted Shannon on a terroristic threat charge, and he was placed on administrative leave. Shannon was later acquitted of the charge, the story said.

The story said that when Shannon returned to the sheriff’s role, Hall resigned and then ran against Shannon in the March 2015 Democratic primary. She won that race and then lost to Rowles in the general election. She started as the NCSO’s chief deputy in 2017.

“I have had the pleasure of serving Newton County for 28 years total - EMS and law enforcement,” Hall said in her statement. If elected, I will continue to give 100 percent of myself to this county. My door will always be open. I look forward to visiting with you and answering any questions you may have.”

Hall said if she is elected sheriff, her main priority will be the safety and security of Newton County and its citizens. Going into specifics, she said her biggest concerns will be the narcotics and mental health problems Newton County and other parts of Deep East Texas are dealing with.

“Newton County, as well as the surrounding counties are experiencing an increase in violent individuals who are either abusing street drugs that lead to mental health issues or have natural mental health issues,” Hall said.“Texas’ mental health system is broken, and in order for it to be corrected, someone has to step up and acknowledge the problem. I hope has New County’s sheriff. I could shed some light on this issue and allow our citizens to feel safer in their own homes.”

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