Goodbye Party For Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes

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For Sheriff Andy Hughes it's bittersweet.

He says he knows he will no longer be Sheriff of the place he loves most but change is inevitable.

"You've made my job as Sheriff over the past 8 years a very very easy job, " said Hughes to a crowded room of co-workers Tuesday.

It's the last week as Sheriff for current Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes.

He says he will never forget the residents of Houston County.

"Sheriff is the only law enforcement official that the people actually get to vote for and they get to pick and it's been an honor to be elected twice by the people of Houston County to be their Sheriff, " said Hughes.

Friends and co-workers gathered Tuesday for Hughes going away party, recalling memories going as far back as to when they first met him.

"Sheriff Hughes and I go way back, we worked for the city together, we worked as partners in narcotics for about 10 years, " said Captain Antonio Gonzalez with the Houston County Sheriff's office.

They say the times they shared with Sheriff Hughes became more like a brotherhood.

"A lot of kicking in doors, a lot of chasing people thru the neighborhoods, a lot of vehicle pursuits going after the bad guys, " said Gonzalez.

"I'll miss the times that we have to spend talking with each other. It's real easy to sit there and talk with him and he makes everybody feel like they are apart of the group, " said Captain Jeff Carlisle with the Houston County Sheriff's Office.

"He's one of those individuals that whatever he sets his mind to, he'll succeed at, " said Gonzalez.

Success, that comes with sacrificing his title as Sheriff and leaving those men and women he's grown to call family.

"I'm leaving now but I'm leaving with confidence because I know I'm leaving some good leadership in place here," said Hughes.

"I do believe as far as the Sheriff's office goes, we are in good shape, we're in better shape because of him, " said Carlisle.

"Hate to see him go, I'm proud of him but I hate to see him go, " said Gonzalez.

On August 18th, Hughes will begin his new job as Assistant Director for Homeland Security with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Chief Deputy Donald Valenza will officially take over as Houston County Sheriff on that same day.

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