Terry Free announced his intention to run for Angelina County Sheriff next year.

Free kicked off his campaign early August. A lifelong resident of Angelina County, he graduated from Hudson High School in 1981. He later attended the Angelina College Police Academy, and has received a bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin, a master’s from Salem University and is working toward his doctorate in organizational leadership from Aspen University.

“I don’t want to be the face of the sheriff’s office,” Free said. “I want to be the pace of the sheriff’s office.

“That position becomes a figure head and I’ve seen people the past six years who have turned over and moved on to other things. While that has been related a lot of times to the lower pay of ACSO, to me I think you need to look in the mirror and say, ‘am I responsible?’ Because if you’re treating those people the way they want to be treated, they’ll be motivated to stay with the department and maintain the professionalism in the department.”

Free worked with the Angelina County & Cities Health District for several years before taking his first position in law enforcement with ACSO in 2008.

He was later promoted to the office’s sergeant over reserve officers, then took a position with Pilgrim’s Pride as the manager of health and safety before later working for Corrigan Police Department as a full-time officer and later sergeant over patrol. In March, Free took a position at Etech to work as the crisis and security manager for the company’s locations in Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Rusk, Dallas, West Palm Beach, Florida, Jamaica and India.

In addition to professionalism and leadership, Free intends to focus on drug manufacture and sales in the county should he be elected.

“It’s a growing concern with the citizens in AC, it is not being addressed and I want to address it head on,” he said.

Sheriff Greg Sanches has also announced his intention to file for reelection. Another candidate, Bryan Holley, has launched a campaign as well.

At this time, candidates can only announce their intention to run for office. The first day for candidates to file for the 2020 primary election is Nov. 9, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office. The deadline for a candidate to file is 6 p.m. Dec. 9.

Austin King’s email address is austin.king@lufkindailynews.com.