Erath County Sheriff Matt Coates issued a press release Tuesday saying he will run for sheriff in 2018.

“After 20 years of law enforcement the past 10 months have proven the most challenging and the most rewarding as I have served the citizens of Erath County as sheriff,” the release states. “The sheriff’s office has been through a major restructuring in both policies and personnel since last December. I have had to make hard and unpopular decisions because they were best for Erath County, I wouldn’t say it’s been easy. The quick success of these changes can be attributed to the hard work of our current staff and our entire department’s commitment to elevating the level of service and professionalism.” 

Coates was appointed by Erath County officials on Dec. 20, 2016 following the unexpected death of Sheriff Tommy Bryant. 

Coates accepted the appointment knowing the Erath County Sheriff’s Office was embattled in investigations by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and the Texas Attorney General, the release states. 

Coates is originally from Big Spring and holds a Master Peace Officer’s License. While with the Howard County Sheriff’s office Coates served as lieutenant over patrol, criminal investigations and training before becoming chief deputy. 

In 2013, the Coates family moved to Erath County where he worked for the Erath County Sheriff’s Office before taking a position of investigator for the District Attorney’s Office. 

“I am a career lawman, not a politician. My wife Denys and our kids had many discussions about running for sheriff,” the release states. “A campaign can take its toll on the family more than the candidate and I needed us to all know and understand the terrain. In the end I am a passionate lawman, I love Erath County and I have the experience and training to make our county a safer place to live, work, raise a family and run a business.” 

Coates will face a challenge from Clell Murray, Bobby Harpole and Paul Tyus in the Republican Party Primary on March 6.