Longtime law enforcement officer retires from sheriff’s office

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, March 21, 2023

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The complete story was printed in the Wed., March 22, 2023 edition, but was placed on the wrong page.

A long, colorful career in law enforcement came to a close Friday as Major Bill Blair retired from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

Blair, who had worked for the department since 2012, has a nearly 50-year history in law enforcement including as a special agent with the FBI.

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Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson led the honors for Blair Friday during a public reception at the Escambia County Courthouse in Brewton.

“I’ve known Bill my whole life,” Jackson said. “When I became sheriff, it was a no-brainer to have Bill as my right hand man. When I was out, he would make decisions and I never worried about the decisions he made. I’m glad to seem him go, but not in a bad way, but a man that worked that hard needs time to enjoy life. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me personally, professionally and for my family.”

Rep. Alan Baker was also on hand to bestow honor on Blair as he retires.

“I am proud to be a part of this ceremony honoring the enormous amount of time you’ve spent in law enforcement,” Baker said. “A flag was flown at the state capital in your honor on March 14, 2023 and I am happy to present this proclamation from Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in honor of your years of service.”

Blair thanked those who spoke in honor of the retirement giving thanks to his wife, Marie.

“Marie, this is the second retirement celebration you’ve attended with me,” Blair said. “You are the wind beneath my wings. You’ve let me do what I wanted to do in my career. But, now I’m going to stay home with you.”

Blair thanked Jackson for his time at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

“Thank you for letting me work with you,” Blair told Jackson. It’s been an honor. The Sheriff’s Office is a great place to work because of the wonderful people we serve. I love the men and women at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. I’m satisfied that I’ve lived the oath I took and am now a citizen again. If I can be of service, I will be glad to do that. Bless you all.”

Blair began his career in law enforcement as an officer with the Troy Police Department in 1976. Through his career he was a member of the Montgomery Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was part of the Bureau of U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and was an FBI senior special agent. He retired from the FBI in 2008 and began working in the State Department in Virginia. Upon returning to Escambia County in 2012, he began his work with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

Upon his retirement, Blair was presented with a framed collection of his badge, service patch and other identification pieces showing his affiliation with the department. He was also presented with his service firearm in the outgoing ceremony.

Blair ran for election for the seat of Escambia County Commission District 3 in 2022, but was unsuccessful in that run.

He and his wife, Marie, make their home near Flomaton in the Pineview Community, where he is a Master Beekeeper enjoying his work with several hives in various locations in the county. He is a 1972 graduate of W.S. Neal High School in East Brewton and received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in criminal justice at Troy University.