On Sheriff Kelly Rowe's agenda, get the new jail open - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


On Sheriff Kelly Rowe's agenda, get the new jail open

By Ann Wyatt Little  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The County Commissioners chose Chief Deputy Kelly Rowe to serve the citizens of Lubbock County as Sheriff. Shortly after the unanimous vote the court called a special Friday session to approve a bond for Rowe.

As Sheriff, Kelly Rowe inherits a staff of nearly 500 and the already behind schedule new jail project something that Rowe says will continue to be a top priority. "I will do my up most to entrust citizens that I'm going to take care of the Sheriff's Office and will take us into the future," says Rowe after learning of his new appointment.  

County Judge Tom Head says it was a tough decision, but a decision the court unanimously made after interviewing five candidates and Kelly Rowe says he's honored to fill the position.

"What Sheriff Gutierrez, the legacy that he created in that office over his time in service there has prepared a lot of great leaders and I consider myself one of those at this point," adds the new Sheriff.

At the top of Sheriff Rowe's to-do list is to get the much delayed new county jail up and running.    

"That's still a top priority. That has to get done. That is the single largest project in Lubbock's history and we have got to get it accomplished," says Rowe.  

As Chief Deputy, Rowe ran the jail and is involved in the new jail plans. Last month after Gutierrez' resignation Rowe told NewsChannel 11 the building looks finished but it's the technology that is the hold up."It's security electronics, fire control systems. They're numerous and many.  We've got a lot of them to get in, and we've got to make sure they're operating like they're supposed to and tested properly," said Rowe back in August. It was his experience with the jail that earned him votes from the County Commissioners.

"He understands this facility better than anyone else that has budgeting experience. I've worked with Kelly. We've all worked with Kelly and he knows the budget inside and out," says Commissioner Bill McCay.

"The timing of it is something that is one of the important things in my decisions where we are at this time in transitions to the new jail," says Commissioner Mark Heinrich.

The new Sheriff says as soon as the jail is secure, the Sheriff's Office is ready for the transition    

As Sheriff, Rowe will receive around a $2500 annual salary increase.

He will serve Lubbock County as Sheriff for at least 14 months and plans to run in the March primary as a Republican. There will be a November 2010 Sheriff's election. Two men who interviewed with Rowe, Animal Services Director Kevin Overstreet and Sheriff's Deputy Don Carter say they have plans to run in the March Primary. If Rowe wins the election in November he will serve two years until former Sheriff Gutierrez' original term expires.

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