Former Dallas County Sheriff Jim Bowles Dead at Age 89

Bowles served as Dallas County Sheriff from 1985 until 2005

What to Know

  • Former Dallas County Sheriff Jim Bowles died Saturday night at age 89
  • Bowles served as sheriff in Dallas County from 1985-2005
  • Before his terms as sheriff, Bowles was with the Dallas Police Department for three decades.

Former Dallas County Sheriff Jim Bowles died Saturday evening at the age of 89, his family confirmed in a statement.

James 'Jim' Carl Bowles' family said the former sheriff died Saturday surrounded by family in Mexia.

Bowles was first elected sheriff in Dallas County in 1985. He served as sheriff for the county until 2005. 

Buck Fortner worked with Bowles at the Dallas County Sheriff's Department while he served as Dallas County Sheriff.

"Just overall he was a great man," Fortner said.

Fortner said Bowles accomplished a lot during his time as sheriff, including upgrading the officers' badges, uniforms and squad cars.

"He enjoyed public service… I guess that was his calling because he was always first to be there," Fortner said.

Bowles was born and raised in Dallas and served in the Navy and Air Force. He then worked for the Dallas Police Department for thirty years.

In 1963, Bowles was the supervisor of the Dallas Police Department radio division during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Downtown Dallas.

Bowles was interviewed by the House Select Committee on Assassinations. The group came to the conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone shooter of President Kennedy.

Former Dallas County Sheriff Jim Bowles remembers HB McLain, a former Dallas police officer who rode in the motorcade of John F. Kennedy.

In a 2008 interview with The Dallas Morning News, Bowles said he believed Oswald acted alone, but wrote about a conspiracy as a 'spoof.'

"Most people feel there was some kind of conspiracy," he told The Dallas Morning News. "So they want a conspiracy, I'll give them a conspiracy."

He attempted another term in office in 2004, but lost in the Republican Primary. Bowles was indicted in 2004, accused of diverting more than $100,000 of campaign money for personal use. Those indictments were later dismissed after the primary by a judge in Dallas County.

Bowles' wife Martha died in 2016. The family asks in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Texas Fallen Officers Foundation, The RMS Listeners Foundation, Mexia Police/Fire Department and/or the Limestone County Sheriff's Department.

Voters in Dallas County will select a new sheriff in November. Republican nominee Aaron Meek posted a statement on Facebook about the loss of Bowles:

Meek will face current Sheriff Marian Brown in November. Her department released a statement Sunday:

"We offer our condolences to the family and keep them in our prayers. Sheriff Bowles is credited for providing steady leadership and turning the county's jails system into one of the best in the state. His influence and the things he accomplished are still felt and a part of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department history."

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