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Hawsey leaving sheriff's post after 20 years

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
Monday will mark the end of an era at the Escambia County Sheriff's Office as Tim Hawsey will serve his final day as the head law enforcement officer in the county.
Hawsey has been the sheriff for 20 years. On Tuesday, Grover Smith, who defeated Hawsey in the November election, will take over the job.
Hawsey was the second youngest sheriff in Alabama when he was elected in 1982. Now, not old enough to receive his retirement benefits, he finds himself a retired sheriff anyway.
Hawsey said he is proud of the accomplishments that the ECSO has reached during his tenure.
During his tenure the department has seen many changes. He implemented 24-hour patrols, uniformly-marked patrol cars and put cages and shotguns in each.
Early on, Hawsey worked to improve the radio communications equipment and developed a "hard-working" state certified reserve deputy unit. Within his first five years a radio repeater system was installed on the east and west sides of the county giving deputies means to communicate via walkie talkie across the county.
Hawsey said fighting drugs was a battle he took personally.
He said the 21st Judicial Drug Task Force has changed the battle against drug dealers in Escambia County.
Hawsey said the true key in the battle against drugs is education.
In the sheriff's duty as educator, Hawsey said he learned a lot about the county's schools, students and teachers.
Over the past 20 years, Hawsey said the sheriff's office has performed over $150,000 of services and educational programs to the schools at no charge.
In his capacity as sheriff, Hawsey worked closely with the courts and other county agencies. He said they all work hard, especially considering their limited budgets.
He said the court system in Escambia is among the best in the state.
Hawsey said among the many changes he has seen over the past 20 years, none is more significant then the new detention center.
The latest achievement at the sheriff's office has just recently been completed.
Hawsey said he will miss the people that have surrounded him at the sheriff's office during his time as sheriff.
Hawsey said he plans to find a new job, but will always be grateful for his time as sheriff.