Garvin County's new sheriff is naturally focused on getting off to a good start, but he also has an eye on the pursuit of a new jail.
In his first few days in the office Jim Mullett has already made a few needed changes with staff promotions.
Mullett also plans to continue what his predecessor and longtime boss, Larry Rhodes, started with a close look at building a new county jail someday.
“I've been working shoulder to shoulder with Sheriff Rhodes to look at a new jail,” Mullett said after he was formally sworn in as the new sheriff earlier this week.
“I want to continue to push for this. Our jail was built in 1974. It's time we have an upgrade in our jail.”
The idea came a couple of years ago in the summer of 2017 when a new second floor was completed on the annex portion of the county courthouse in Pauls Valley.
At that time the offices of the district attorney and assessor moved upstairs as the entire ground floor of the annex became a part of the sheriff's department.
The original plan was to renovate and expand the county jail facility to increase inmate capacity.
Rhodes, working with an architect, later determined a renovation of the current jail was not the best way to go as the focus shifted toward a new plan of working toward building a new jail.
“We're still doing good in the jail, still passing inspections and handling our business,” Mullett said, adding the current jail's capacity is 72 inmates.
Like Rhodes before him, the new sheriff says the idea of a new jail came about because of the need for more space.
“It's a trend not just with our county but all of Oklahoma. We're a growing county and with that there's a need to have a bigger and more modern jail.”
He says there's a preliminary drawing of a proposed new jail, but that's about as far as the idea has gotten.
“Right now we need to a find a place to build and then go to the people, if it ever gets to that point.
“It might be slow but it's going forward,” Mullett said about the new jail plans.