We have all probably heard the phrase, “Behind every successful man is a good woman.” I can personally attest to that. Us guys also know that no matter how much we “think” we run things, it is really the ladies in the office that keep the everyday flow going. At the sheriff’s office we are blessed to have a group of those ladies that keeps the flow going.
Of the 235 personnel at the sheriff’s office we have seven full-time and one part-time clerical. These are the ladies that know where everything is at and because a few have been here so many years, they know the history of why some things are done the way they are.
Normally when you come to the main lobby window you will meet Esther. She is a bilingual lady that has the patience of Job. She is like an air traffic controller; she keeps the people moving. She answers any questions she can, directs individuals to the appropriate person to help solve their problem, and gives directions to those who came into our building but really wanted to be at city hall, courts building or the police department.
All the attorneys know Esther. She is the one that calls for their clients to be brought down for the attorney visits and she maintains the log the attorneys sign in and out on.
Additionally, she serves as the main switchboard operator during normal business hours.
The south end of the first floor is where our civil and criminal investigation divisions are located. When you enter that door you are met by Holly.
Holly has been with the sheriff’s office since 2000. Prior to the sheriff’s office she worked at the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce.
Holly has worked in several support areas but for the past several years she has been assigned to criminal investigations. Holly is the one that ensures all the reports and correspondence for that division are taken care of.
She maintains and completes the uniform crime report and answers tons of phone calls from individuals asking about their cases.
Holly knows pretty much everything that flows through that division because it probably crossed her desk. She also finds herself going to court because of subpoenas for records
If you have been around the sheriff’s office much at all you have probably met Mindy. Mindy is the longest tenured (15 years) clerical but also the youngest. She still looks like she is in high school.
Through the years Mindy has worked about every area of the sheriff’s office. Right now she covers the desk of the other ladies if they are out.
She trains the new clerical and is another one that knows a lot of history around here. If someone is looking for a record or has a question like, “Do you remember….?” she is probably going to have an answer.
When she is not bouncing around supporting the other desks she is archiving old records and files by digitizing them.
Norma is the lady you will probably meet at the bond window in the jail area. She too is bilingual and provides a wealth of information to people trying to get someone out of jail.
Bail bond personnel know her well. Several times I have heard how helpful she is to the bonding agencies.
Norma is also the one that makes sure the funds collected for other towns and courts are deposited into a central account and then she writes the checks to those respective towns and courts. The money comes from people arrested by law enforcement in Ellis County and brought to our jail where they then pay their fines or bonds.
Because of her desk location in the book-in/book-out area of the jail, she has also proven to be a great support to them when the phones get busy.
Ann is our newest full time clerical. Her assignment is the warrant area. She receives and logs all warrants of arrest that come and go to and from our agency.
It is rare you will see Ann because of her location. Ann’s office is in the same area that dispatch is located. She maintains a close working relation with them because all the warrants she maintains must be entered by dispatch into the computer system. (The system that is checked when a peace officer pulls you over on a traffic stop.)
Ann also maintains a close working relationship with your county and district clerks. Many of our warrants come from their offices. nn did similar work in Dallas County before coming to work with us.
Katie is our part time clerical. Because the number of requests for open records information became so numerous through the years, we had to have someone dedicated to that endeavor.
Katie has a small window of time to locate the requested information, get it copied and off to the Ellis County District Attorney’s Office for review and dissemination.
Debra is our senior clerical person. She is our human resource person, our jail uniform and supply inventory person and serves as the clerical supervisor when the supervisor is out.
Debra does so many different things it is sometimes hard to keep up with her. She previously worked for Sheriff Stewart but had left to take a job with AT&T corporate in Dallas.
When I was elected sheriff we were fortunate to be able to sway her back to Ellis County.
Debra is another that is a go to person if you have questions about something. She too has worked in several areas of the Office to include having served as a licensed jailer. Anyone looking for answers regarding insurance, worker’s comp, state jailer or peace officer licensing, etc., Debra is the go to person.
Last but not least is my right arm, Janie. Janie has been here going on 14 years. he is the one that supervises all the clerical and keeps me on schedule during the week.
Everybody knows if I’m not immediately accessible then Janie is the person that always knows where I am and/or how to reach me.
Janie is also the person that keeps up with all the contracts, bills, correspondence, purchase orders, audits the credit cards, makes appointments, etc. She keeps a close eye on the two budgets (remember from a previous writing, we have a jail budget and a sheriff’s operations budget) and when necessary, handles the line item transfers.
In short, she just keeps everything flowing. Her ability to keep the office items flowing allows me more time to be out in the county on the roads and visiting with the public about their needs and concerns.
The ladies described above, and the many others like them throughout offices everywhere, seem to never get the recognition they deserve.
I’m thankful for these that support the sheriff’s office mission.
Johnny Brown has served as Sheriff of Ellis County since Jan. 1, 2009, and is a graduate of the National Sheriff’s Institute. He has been in law enforcement for 20 years and holds a Master’s Peace Officer’s Certificate with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.