By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
t won’t take long for Roosevelt County’s new jail administrator to settle into his new position — after all, Don Burdine’s familiar face has been involved with Curry and Roosevelt County law enforcement for the last 26 years.
Burdine was named the interim jail administrator in April after Jesse Luera resigned after nearly six years at the post. Burdine was named as Luera’s successor earlier this month.
Burdine held the same position in the late 1990s, so he’s familiar with the job.
“I don’t know that that helps as much as just having experience in the field,” Burdine said. “A detention center is a detention center. You’re dealing with the same issues, weather you’re in Santa Fe County, Bernalillo County or Roosevelt County. They all have the same issues that are difficult, if not impossible to address.”
“He did a terrific job when he was here before,” Roosevelt County Commission chairman David Sanders said. “But he just didn’t stay long.”
The jail has undergone several changes since Burdine left, the biggest of which was a $3.3 million addition built onto the existing jail. That project was completed in January, and bumps the capacity to 140 inmates.
“(It) gives us a lot more flexibility,” Burdine said. “A lot better ability to classify and segregate people to guarantee safe housing.”
Sanders said filling this position with an experienced administrator was a top priority.
“It’s terribly important (to have a person with his experience),” Sanders said. “That is a tough place to work out there. You’ve got to have a guy with a lot of patience and a lot of know-how.”
“He knows this jail inside and out,” Sanders said.
The base salary for the RCDC administrator is $43,765 and increases based on experience.
Burdine also served as the Curry County Detention Center administrator and a Curry County sheriff’s deputy.