TIOGA COUNTY, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Tioga County Sheriff Gary Howard is making it official: he plans to run for a 6th term this year.

Howard told NewsChannel 34 back in September that he planned to seek what would be his final term.

It was during an awards ceremony at the Sheriff’s Office during which he was honored for his 45 years of service.

He’s currently in his 20th year as Sheriff having first taken office in 2004.

Howard began his career in the corrections division at a time when corrections officers also worked in dispatch.

He eventually joined the law enforcement division, working his way up to captain of detectives before being elected Sheriff.

In a statement to the media, Howard says recent years have been the most challenging of his tenure due to bail reform, juvenile justice reform and the COVID pandemic.

The Republican says he’s proud of his department’s accomplishments and wants to continue to serve and protect the citizens of Tioga County.