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|Hendricks new police chief in Vidalia|
Forty-nine percent of Vidalia's voters turned out in Saturday's general election and elected a new police chief.
Ronnie G. "Tapper" Hendricks defeated Police Chief Billy Hammers with 56 percent of the vote to win, 892-709.
Hammers said he'd "like to thank everyone who supported me. Undoubtedly the good Lord has something better for me to do."
"I want to thank God, my family and my supporters," said Hendricks, who will be 36 in June.
Hendricks' father, Ronnie Hendricks, worked for the Ferriday and Vidalia police departments and for the sheriff's office.
"He never wanted me to get into law enforcement," said the younger Hendricks. "But he told me I have made him very proud."
Both father and son were very close to former Vidalia Police Chief Delane Thornhill, who died in 2004.
"I told Delane about 10 years ago I was going to be Chief of Police," Hendricks said. "He told me there was plenty of time for that. He had a very big influence on me."
Hendricks said he hasn't gotten a whole lot of sleep since Saturday.
"The phone calls are still pouring in," he said. "I am relieved this is over, especially for my family."
Hendricks said he has already begun working on a few plans.
"There are some things we are going to do to make Vidalia better," he said. "I want all the people to know I am working for the citizens of Vidalia"
Both Hendricks and Hammers carried two precincts each in Vidalia with Hendricks winning in early votes, 175 to 74.
Hammers led in Precinct 3-1 (old courthouse), 134-116, and in 3-3 (School Board annex), 145-134.
Hendricks led in 3-2 (School Board annex), 267-181, and at 4-4 (new courthouse), 200-175.
Of the 3,294 registered voters in Vidalia, 70 percent are white, 29 percent are black and and one percent are registered as other.
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