COBB COUNTY, Ga - Cobb County voters elected a new sheriff Tuesday. Craig Owens will replace Neil Warren who has held the position since 2004. Owens will also be Cobb County's first African-American sheriff.
"It was such a great feeling waking up knowing I'm going to be the next sheriff of Cobb County," said Owens.
Major Craig Owens is currently a precinct commander in Cobb County. He's been with the police department 30 years.
Owens said he has heard about the complaints of the conditions in the jail. He has seen protests overextended lockdowns and lack of information. He has seen families in tears after a number of deaths at the jail. He says that's why he wanted to run for sheriff.
He said as soon as he's in charge he's going to do a top to bottom assessment of the jail and determine how to turn it into one of the safest in the country.
"We've had too many unfortunate deaths in that facility so we gotta get in there and make sure we're giving the appropriate health and mental health care for those there, and we've got to treat everyone who comes through those doors with dignity and respect," said Owens.
Owens said he also wants the community involved.
"Have open conversations and forums so the community can tell me what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong. Then we can come together and fix it," said Owens.
The veteran lawman knows as he makes these changes he'll have the eyes of younger generations on him.
"Young African Americans see me in this position and say 'Hey I can do that too', so that's a great thing, but it's a humbling experience and being history-making is a big responsibility. I don't want to let anyone down, so I have to be on my game all the time," said Owens.
Owens isn't the only one making history after this election. Gwinnett County voters elected Keybo Taylor as sheriff and Henry County elected Reginald Scandrett. Both will be the first African-American sheriffs of their respective counties.