After 40-years of service, area law enforcement will join family and friends to lay Major Jerry Baggs to rest Monday.
Baggs, 59, died Thursday after battling an illness. He served with the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office for five years. Before that he was warden at the Dickens County Correctional Facility, and before that a member of the Midland County Sheriff's Department.
Baggs founded the Texas Jail Association, which now has more than 1,000 members. This year, they named a leadership award in honor of Major Baggs, and the TJA is what led him to Lubbock.
"I will remember him as a friend. I met him almost 20-years ago. Back in the mid-80's we were having serious over crowding problems in the county jails in the state of Texas. Jerry had the vision and the foresight to want to pull together," Lubbock County Sheriff David Gutierrez said.
He met Baggs through the TJA, and knew he wanted Baggs on his team.
"I told him then, I said, Jerry, if I ever have the opportunity to be in a position where I need to pull some staff together, you're coming on the team with me. It took me a couple of years after I got elected, but I finally managed to get him with me," Gutierrez said.
He says Baggs played a major role in Lubbock County's new jail. He got to see the groundbreaking, and hoped to see the finished product.
"One of the last things he said to me, he said sheriff, I just wanted to be around long enough to open that new facility. Tragically enough, Monday he called me, just Monday, and said Sheriff I went to the clinic to get a picker-upper. I'm feeling a little weak today, but I'll be in there first thing in the morning," Gutierrez said.
Baggs didn't make it to work, passing away Thursday at a local hospital, and while most will remember his work, Sheriff Gutierrez also remembers his passion.
"Jerry loved his people. The people that he supervised. He expected perfection from them. He expected them to do their job, but he also knew that we were dealing with human beings, and he loved his people," Gutierrez said.
Sheriff Gutierrez says it will be hard to find someone to fill Major Bagg's shoes, but his leadership helped so many learn what it takes.
His funeral is at 1:00pm Monday. Services are at the First Baptist Church on Broadway.
Major Baggs is survived by a wife, son and two daughters.
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