Nearly a dozen inmates have escaped from the Curry County Adult Detention Center in the last three years, and county officials have decided it is time for a change.
Gerry Billy was named the new administrator at Tuesday's Curry County Commission meeting.
"I thought it was kind of like a last act for me," Billy said. "I wanted an opportunity to come out on a contract basis and see if I could offer something new and fresh for Curry County, get the building back online and move forward. So, it's a very exciting prospect."
Several commissioners pointed out they were impressed with Billy's resume. He is a retired sheriff of six terms, a past president of the American Jail Association and has worked with both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. And the list does not stop there.
Billy said assessing the facility will be his first item of business.
"Operational issues may include matching policy to practice- are they really doing what they say they are doing, does there need to be changes in staffing levels or patterns?"
He also plans to inspect the physical restrictions of the facility.
Billy met with county officials Tuesday afternoon to address his concern about the number of inmates. According to him, there are nearly 260 inmates in the jail. He feels that number is high considering the population of Curry County is about 48,000.
Though it will be a lot of work, Billy stated he is looking forward to the challenge.
"I've done a literally hundreds and hundreds of these over the last 25 years, so it'll be a lot of fun."