ALLEN PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Allen Parish Sheriff's Office is now under a new leader as Douglas Hebert III took over on Monday. But with his new position, he's inheriting old problems, including the need for a new jail.
Old problems are a part of anyone taking over a new position. For Sheriff Hebert that means changes that are already underway and will continue throughout his time as sheriff.
His hopes of becoming sheriff were shattered four years ago when he ran and lost by less than 200 votes.
"Anybody that puts that much effort into anything and to come up short certainly is going to be discouraging," said Sheriff Hebert.
But he decided to run again.
"I love Allen Parish," said Sheriff Hebert. "I've been living here since i was in the second grade. I was raised by my parents that if you can make a difference, you make a difference. Simple as that."
This time he won with 59% of the vote. But now the challenges begin, starting with the Allen Parish jail. He says it's been a problem for close to a decade.
"The jail we have now is a 42 man jail, three story, that is in terrible shape, disrepair," said Sheriff Hebert. "Even if it was in good shape, it's not nearly large enough to handle the population of inmates that we have."
Sheriff Hebert said over thirty inmates are at other prisons in the state. The population at their own jail would be larger if they had the room, but instead criminals who probably should remain in jail are being released. He wants that to end.
"We're going to do it the fastest most cost effective way that will end up solving Allen Parish's problem," said Sheriff Hebert.
But only on day four of the job, Sheriff Hebert has lots of time to make a difference. He gives his father the credit for him being where he is. His father is the former Allen Parish District Attorney of 20 years and swore his son in on Monday.
"He's my dad," said Sheriff Hebert. "One you're excited, you're proud. But then you're wondering hopefully I get to make him as proud of me as we are of him. He has set such an incredible example on how to be just a good man and do the right thing."
And that's what Sheriff Hebert wants to do in Allen Paris: the right thing. He says that's what the people deserve.
"It would be easy to let some of the problems we have be an excuse for services to degrade or to say you know we just don't have the money for that," said Sheriff Hebert. "They didn't elect me for excuses, they elected me for results. They're going to get results."
The jail won't be the only problem facing Sheriff Hebert. The budget will also be something he has to tackle.
The department will need to borrow money for this next fiscal year, but that's something Sheriff Hebert wants to change. He says he plans to do everything in his power to prevent that from happening again.