Wendell Jackson wants to use law enforcement, prosecution experience as jailer
By Jim Turner

Posted on May 12, 2014 9:43 PM

This is the seventh in a series of features on candidates who have advertised on The Logan Journal.

Spending 33 years in “protecting and serving the commonwealth” has earned Wendell Jackson well-deserved retirement. Yet his desire to serve the public and to ensure that those who have been found guilty of committing a crime serve their sentences appropriately has him seeking the office of Logan County Jailer, subject to next week’s Democratic Primary election.

Twenty-one years of his law enforcement career came as a Kentucky State Policeman. The first three-plus years of that service, he was a uniformed state trooper assigned to Logan County. He spent the next eight-plus years as a state police detective, and then for nine years he was in the highly dangerous field of undercover/special narcotics investigation.

His work in protecting the public also includes 12 years as Commonwealth Detective for Logan and Todd counties, serving under the late Charles Orange and his successor as commonwealth attorney, Gail Guiling. He even spent one year as Logan County Deputy Coroner, working under Jackie Dunlap.

He is a member and former president of the local Fraternal Order of Police and was a charter member of the board of CrimeStoppers here, having served as its president, too.

A native of Missouri, Jackson obtained an Associate of Arts degree in business at an Arkansas junior college and also attended Southeast Missouri State University for a year before being accepted into the State Police Academy in Frankfort. His mother was from Monroe County, so working in Kentucky was a natural.

His first assignment with the state police cames in Logan County in March 1972, and he has lived here ever since. “I am from Logan County,” he says. “There’s no place else I want to be.”

His two grown children, David Jackson and Wendy Jackson Hope, are graduates of Russellville High School and live in Bowling Green. He is married to the former Rita Penrod of Lewisburg, the daughter of Sue and the late Harris Lee Penrod. The Jacksons live in Auburn. He enjoys his four grandchildren and his step-grandchild.

Jackson has used his business training. After he retired from the state police, he and retired Russellville Police Chief Michael Stratton had a cabinet-making business. Then he joined Tom and Brian Perry and Russell Shelton in the same trade, and they formed Logan County Cabinets. When he and Shelton sold their share to Brian Perry, Wendell went to work for the next 12 years as commonwealth detective from 2001-2012.

He feels that his experience in being a business owner and his college business degree will be assets in running the jailer’s office. “The jailer is basically an administrator, involved in budgeting, training and dealing with fiscal court. As a state policeman and a commonwealth detective, I have experience in working through the court system and dealing with the Department of Corrections and with attorneys,” he says. “I will do whatever it takes to provide a safe and secure jail.”

Wendell Jackson says he anticipates making changes in the operation of the jail, but won’t know what all needs to be done” until I get in and get my feet wet.  Changes are usually good, but sometimes they can cost more than the benefits that you get from them.”

He wants to get the county more funds through litter abatement programs. He says he will ask fiscal court to increase county efforts to clean up litter by using prisoners, not only on roads but also in parks and community centers in Adairville, Lewisburg, Auburn, Schochoh and Green Ridge.

When he came to Logan County as a rookie state trooper, Wendell Jackson followed Paul Hankins, who had become a detective. He was getting on-the-job training from veteran trooper Walter Thurtell, but soon afterwards Officer Thurtell was killed in a traffic wreck between Adairville and Russellville. “While I was supposed to be in training, I was the officer training a new trooper, Jackie Strode. Then when I became a detective, the next trooper who came here was Bill Jenkins. Jackie was followed, as I remember, by Jim Devasher.”

Stode has been the Warren County jailer for many years. Jenkins retired this year after serving as Logan County Jailer for 17 years. Devasher became the first director of the Southcentral Kentucky Drug Task Force. Now Wendell Jackson is asking voters to continue the trend by electing him Logan County jailer.

“I’ve been knocking on doors for three months, but there’s no way I’ll get to everybody in Logan County by next Tuesday,” he says. “For those I haven’t seen, I ask for your support in the primary and look forward to meeting you before the fall election.”

Paid for by Wendell Jackson


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