Jackson County has new Jail Administrator
By Jessica Coleman
When Tara Timberlake left the Navy, she thought she had her life all planned. She had a family and planned to stay at home with her children. The stay at home life, she soon realized, was not for her.
“I was going crazy,” she said. “I wanted to do something, so I went to school. I went to school for medical insurance billing and coding, thinking that was something I’d want to do. I realized very quickly that I missed the military and law enforcement structure.”
In 2011, that craving for structure led her to apply for a job at the Jackson County Jail as a jailer. Now, 12 years later, Timberlake has accepted the position as Jail Administrator. She’s loved her work as a Jailer and as a Jail Sergeant, and is ready for and excited about the new challenge of being at the helm.
“It’s more responsibility,” she said. “The floor jailers go around and deal mostly with the inmates and medication and the basic day to day stuff. The sergeants are in charge of making sure everything gets done within standards, and they manage their shift. Then the jail administrator manages everybody and makes sure everybody is following the rules for jail standards.”
Timberlake dove right in, working to understand the role and make it her own.
“It’s a lot of paperwork, but I enjoy it,” she said. “I’m still learning but I am getting the hang of it and figuring out my own ways with everything. I’ve never before budgeted or managed a budget so I’m learning that and doing well. And there are a lot of state reports that we have to do, so I’m learning all that.” The thing that’s taken perhaps the most getting used to, however, is the schedule.
“I’ve never in my life worked a Monday through Friday job,” she says laughing. “I’ve always worked shift work, even when I was in the military.”
There are, as one might imagine, a lot of challenges to making a jail run smoothly. Nobody who comes in comes on their best day, and dealing with all the different personalities can be a job.
“When people come to jail, they don’t come willingly,” said Timberlake. “So its just managing the different personalities and learning them so we don’t have any issues.”
Her favorite part of her job, though, is when she doesn’t see people again.
“I like seeing the people come in here, and then they go out and they make something of themselves,” she said, “You don’t see them again, and If you do it’s out in the public and they’re doing good.”
Timberlake lives in Victoria with her husband and four children.