ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – After 12-years as Taylor County Judge, Downing Bolls will officially retire on December 31.

KTAB and KRBC were able to sit down with Judge Bolls before his retirement, speaking about the highs and lows of the job, as well as his long tenure in broadcast.

It’s a bittersweet time, no doubt, for Downing Bolls on the home stretch of his tenure as Taylor County Judge. Bolls said it’s a bizarre feeling, stepping back and looking at all of the things he has accumulated, seen, and done over the years.

“I can’t complain about the road that I’ve traveled, but it’s kind of hard shutting it all down and moving on to the next chapter of my life,” Bolls said.

Elected in 2010, Bolls is currently in his third consecutive term as Taylor County Judge.

When, KTAB and KRBC asked Bolls if work had slowed down as retirement approaches, he responded laughing and said it seemed as if his last few cases would come and go, then the largest crisis imaginable for the county occurred: the county’s emails were hacked.

“There must be somebody up there that must really like me because they’re throwing things for me to do,” Bolls said laughing. “You know, I haven’t tried him with this yet.”

However, after more than a decade in his seat, his goal from the start still reigns true.

“From the time I got into office, I wanted us to be a very resilient organization, so that when these things happen, we are better capable of handling because we try to think forward and what are we going to do if that happens or if that happens,” Bolls said.

Prior to his election, Bolls spent four years in the United States Marine Corps, in which he enlisted right after high school graduation.

In 1972, he was honorably discharged and used G.I. funding to attend McMurry College and then Southwest Texas State.

Bolls graduated with a degree in journalism, returning to Abilene where he’d spend 33 years as on-air talent for KRBC-TV and Radio, using that experience to navigate the hard questions the local media can throw at him.

“The main thing is getting the word out there, especially in a breaking news situation where the public safety is in danger – that word has got to get out and get out in a hurry,” Bolls said.

But after all these years, Bolls is facing a new challenge – what to do in retirement?

“Well, my wife got me an outfit for doing a podcast, but I don’t know the first thing about any of this stuff,” Bolls said with a smile. “You know, it’s still sitting in the box at home.”

Downing’s father, Downing Bolls, Sr., was also a Taylor County Commissioner in the 1980s. He was the first Republican to win an elected office in Taylor County.

Newly elected Taylor County Judge Phil Crowley will take office in 2023.