Dec. 31, 2014, will be the day Bill Jenkins hangs up his keys to the Logan County Detention Center and calls it quits.
Jenkins, who has been serving as jailer the past 17 and a half years, has decided not to seek re-election this time around. He says it is time to quit while he is ahead and still in good health to do so, wanting to spend more time with his family, in particular his three-year-old granddaughter.
“I have enjoyed serving as jailer throughout these years,” said Jenkins. “It has been a very rewarding job, one that I hope I have been able to help people along the way.”
Jenkins became jailer in 1996 after retiring from the Kentucky State Police, where he served for 23 years as a trooper and detective for the Logan County area. Becoming jailer was a job, he says, was offered to him the first time, and not one he was seeking himself.
According to Jenkins, his predecessor Ray Max Sanders asked him if he would be willing to become the jailer. Sanders was leaving before his term ended, and according to Jenkins, took him to meet then judge executive Johnny Guion, who eventually appointed him to jailer.
“I felt my experience with the KSP could possibly help with the job of jailer. I wanted to bring that experience in to help the community,” said Jenkins, who didn’t know at the time the job would end up being as time consuming as it has been. “I don’t think people realize this job takes one hundred percent of your time,” said the jailer, adding that even when he is off of the clock, he is still not off of the clock. He said that has been one of the toughest parts of his job.
Jenkins said the best part of his job over the years has been its interesting aspect. “I have been blessed to have had two careers that have meant so much to me, and because of that I have lived an interesting life,” said Jenkins.
One story Jenkins likes to tell involves an inmate who told the jailer if he helped him get out of jail he would tell him a secret that he could use all of his life. Jenkins, who was curious what the inmate was talking about, asked him what that was, to which the inmate replied that he would tell him the secret recipe to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Jenkins said the inmate was very serious. Jenkins then said he told him he’d better not, because the FBI may find out.
Jenkins said he and his wife Peggy are looking forward to traveling. They both have been wanting to visit several places and wish to spend more time with their two sons and their families.
“I hadn’t made up my mind yet if I were going to run again until Peggy and I took a trip with my son and family recently. We had so much fun. I realized this was what I wanted to do while I was still healthy enough to do it, and that is when I made up my mind not to run again,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins says he now looks forward to being out of the political arena and entering into a private life and doing all the things he could never seem to find the time to do over the past years.
“I am looking forward to leaving behind the 24/7, 365 days a year on call status,” Jenkins said. “I want to sincerely thank all of my supporters over the past years, and to all of the Logan County residents who have not only cast their vote for me, but also placed their trust and confidence in me, as jailer.”
Jenkins says for the jailer coming in after him he offers this advise: “Rely on your employees. The importance of a good staff can make the world of difference. Understand things can happen quickly in a county correctional facility. They can develop within 2-3 minutes and the jailer and jail staff have to make quick decisions that can mean life or death and injury for an inmate or themselves. This is a 364 days a year job, and you have to make sure you don’t miss anything.”