RATIBOR (January 1, 2013)--Eddy Lange chose a place to start his new job that many people never heard of, but the outcome was the same.
Just moments after midnight Tuesday morning Lange officially became the new Bell County Sheriff, replacing Dan Smith, who retired after hold the office for 28 years.
Lange told the crowd gathered at the Ratibor Bar and Grill that he’d get right to work Tuesday and he already had an agenda full of things to do, including swearing in his staff during ceremonies at 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.
For the former justice of the peace and county commissioner, to be sheriff has been a dream of his for about 15 years, but he said he understands what challenges he’ll face as a new sheriff.
"Anytime there's a change, especially a major change like this when there's been 28 years...things will be different under a new regime, and human nature is to be scared of the unforeseen," Lange said.
"What I'm asking my employees to do is give us a chance; let us prove ourselves," Lange said.
"I'm going to give the same respect to my employees to let them prove themselves to me."
A higher pay scale for the sheriff's department and fixing the high turnover rate of employees in the county jail are some of the things he's focusing on in his new role.
"They do a tremendous amount of work that amounts to little pay, so all of our employees, the basis is there, we just need to give our employees of the sheriff's department better training and make tools and equipment available to them to make them do the best that they can," Lange said.