There’s a new sheriff in town at the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff John Whetsel had his last day Wednesday, after serving more than 20 years as Sheriff and 50 years in law enforcement.
Now, Undersheriff P.D. Taylor is at the helm as Interim Oklahoma County Sheriff.
P.D. Taylor wasted no time letting the public know he wants to make a change at the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office. He has also put a few things in place.
“Change is good, I really believe that,” said P.D. Taylor. “I intend to make positive changes daily and make this a better place daily.”
Taylor said several letters went out to the staff at the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office explaining how he wants to increase and focus patrols in the unincorporated areas of the county like Deer Creek. He said it’s his number one priority as acting Sheriff.
Taylor said he also wants to improve response times in those areas.
Another priority is reinstating the warrant team to hunt down wanted fugitives.
Taylor said another goal is making improvements to the conditions at the Oklahoma County Jail for both workers and inmates alike. That includes things like offering 12- hour overtime shifts to workers who want it, which will allow better staffing at the jail.
Taylor also wants to create more overnight supervision at the jail.
“It will give us at least 250 hours a month more hours worked than we had before, and give us more bodies on the shift,” said Taylor.
Taylor said the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office has also implemented a suicide prevention unit at the jail to try to prevent those tragedies from happening, and to try to decrease the number of deaths at the jail.
Taylor said last year alone, 5 of the 15 deaths that occurred were due to suicide.
“We don't want any suicides in this jail,” said Taylor. “They are going to happen, but if we do everything we possibly can than we can cut those numbers way down.”
Taylor does plan to run for the open sheriff's seat, which makes him one of seven candidates.
Taylor has been with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office since 1997 and as undersheriff, has overseen much of the jail operations for the county.
He was also a soldier stationed in Vietnam in the late 1960's, and then spent the next 29 years with the Oklahoma City Police Department before walking across the street to join the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office.
Just recently, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame.