NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Joe Evans is calling this old home week. The former sheriff is walking familiar hallways and running into people like his assistant, Molly Brown. She and others have only known him as the sheriff. Today, Evans made it perfectly clear that was then, today is now.
"I've had to tell them, look, call me Joe," Evans, the Nacogdoches Jail's new administrator, said. "We have a new sheriff. We will address him as sheriff. And I have no problem with that."
Neither does Sheriff Jason Bridges. His goal is to surround himself with people who know their jobs.
"It's not about egos here. It's not about who did this," Bridges said. "It's about what can we bring to the service of our citizens."
As is customary with new sheriffs, the first order of business was to spruce up the place with a lot of fresh paint. It's no different at the Nacogdoches County Jail, but Evans has implemented more significant changes.
"We've changed the shift from 12-hour shifts," Evans said. "We're back to 8-hour shifts. It will cut down on overtime and comp time."
Bridges said they would like to expand the inmate work program at the jail.
"Who better than a man who was here for 16 years that probably had one of the best work programs in place," Bridges said.
When he was sheriff, Evans had inmates growing peas, building furniture, repairing and washing cars.
"We've just about done it all," Evans said. "And will probably try some of that again."
Another change, one that is familiar to Nacogdoches County, is the likelihood of housing inmates for other counties.
"Five hundred dollars a day it doesn't take long to start making some money back for the county and that's another thing the sheriff wants to do," Evans said.
Bridges and Evans are rejuvenating some former programs, but they say new ideas and approaches will be seen too.