ZAVALLA, TX (KTRE) – The City of Zavalla's new police chief is ready to tackle the town's drug problem and help build more juvenile based programs.
Jimmie Hodges says those two things are at the top of his priority list. Hodges, who served for 27 years the Angelina County Sheriff's office, is coming out of retirement to help maintain law and order in Zavalla. "Being off, nothing to do, the job came open, I got my peace officer's certification back, applied and they gave me the job."
Hodges believes his experience in law enforcement, strong ties to the Sheriff's office and DPS, as well as his passion to serve will be assets as he tackles his new career as Chief. "We've got a pretty good drug problem down here. It's way worse than you think it is. That's just something you've got to work and do the best you can."
Hodges says with Zavalla being on the southern-most tip of the county, they haven't received the attention they deserve. He plans to increase patrols, have his officers be more visible, get involved with the schools, and build a stronger relationship with the community. "Most of the serious calls happen on the other side of the county. It's 26 miles to Zavalla from Lufkin. They need somebody to start working this area. It's not so bad inside the Zavalla city limits, many of the problems are in the county, but they come here for help."
Hodges also worked at the Harris County Sheriff's Office in the early 70's. The search for a new Zavalla Chief of Police began at the first of this year after Bobby Epperly Junior resigned to take the Chief's job in Huntington.
Hodges' first day on the job was Monday. He says so far, so good. "It's great, the paper work is eating me up, but it's just one of those deals, it's part of the job."
Hodges plans to make building school-based and youth-based programs another part of the job. "Juveniles have lost their respect for people because it's what they see on these shows and it's just how they act. If you can get them to trust you and work with you a little bit…if you save one, you've done something."
Hodges says he and his wife both have strong ties to the Zavalla-area. "I'm going to try to make some changes down here. If I can, I will. If I can't, I will be gone."