Friends and family of former Dallas County Sheriff Jim Bowles are remembering him as a man who spent his life serving his country and community. He passed away Saturday night at the age of 89.
Former Dallas County Assistant Chief Gary Lindsey tells FOX 4 Bowles was his mentor.
“I think he taught me what it was to be a public servant, you know he was a politician, but he was really a public servant first."
Under Bowles’ leadership, Lindsey rose to the rank of assistant chief. He says Sheriff Bowles laid the foundation for what the department is today.
"Kind of evolved us from a country sheriff's department to a metropolitan law enforcement agency,” said Lindsey.
Lindsey says Bowles was progressive. He hired civilians to work jail detention services so he could have more sworn officers on the streets.
"He gave civilians a career path in the department. He changed the badge, changed the uniform changed the cars,” said Lindsey. "I think he was one of the first in community policing that got us into the neighborhoods and actually developing those relationships."
In a statement, family members say:
"James (Jim Bowles) spent his entire life in service to his country with the Navy and Air Force as well to the citizens of the county of Dallas as Sheriff for twenty-four years and to his community as a police officer with Dallas Police Department for over thirty years."
"He was a man of faith, he always had the Bible in his office, was always reading his Bible. We'd see him in the morning, he was reading his Bible. And then he was into public service. He was a politician, but he really wanted to serve the public and I think that's why he stayed in public service for that many years,” Lindsey said.
In 2004 Bowles was indicted on charges he misappropriated campaign funds. Those charges were later thrown out, but the damage was done. Bowles lost his bid for the Republican nomination and Democrat Lupe Valdez was elected sheriff.
"I was squeezed out by a political scam that's a shame, like anything I've ever seen in my lifetime! I haven't seen that on a National level,” said Bowles following his loss.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says Bowles’ nearly six-decades of public service will be recognized.
“In honor of his service at the time of his passing we will be flying our flags at half-staff until he is laid to rest."
Another footnote to Bowles’ 30-year tenure at the Dallas Police Department; he was in charge of the dispatch center the day President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed.
Family members have not yet announced plans for a memorial service.