Detention center

Panola County Sheriff Cutter Clinton, left, is seen visiting with former Sheriff Jack Ellett, center, during a December reception for retiring Judge Terry Bailey. Clinton is seeking to have the county detention center renamed in honor of Ellett.

The Panola County Detention Center could have a new name in the coming months if Sheriff Cutter Clinton’s recommendation is put into motion by county officials.

Renaming it to the Paul Jack Ellett Panola County Detention Center would be a fitting tribute to honor longtime lawman and former Panola County Sheriff Jack, Clinton said. He has put that suggestion in the form of a letter to Panola County Judge Rodger McLane.

In the letter presented to McLane this week, Clinton makes the request to the county commissioners’ court.

“Sheriff Ellett served at the Panola County Sheriff’s Office from 1980 until 2012 and as the elected sheriff from 1988 until 2012,” he said. Clinton cited Ellett’s efforts of implementing needed improvements in the office.

“And his service is undoubted worthy of this requested honor,” Clinton said. He has researched the process of naming or dedicating a governmental building to an individual.

That research indicated the authority to approve the naming of a county facility falls to the Panola County Commissioners’ Court.

“As Sheriff of Panola County, I am dually sworn as the ‘Conservator of the Peace’ and ‘Keeper of the Jail,’” Clinton said. “As keeper of the jail, I feel it is more than appropriate that Paul Jack Ellett be bestowed this honor.”

Ellett had a 53-year span of public service, including military service and time with the Panola County Sheriff’s Office. He retired as sheriff in 2012.

Among accomplishments as sheriff was the establishment of a reserve officer program and setting up a K-9 and drug dog program. The detention center which Clinton is seeking to have renamed after Ellett was constructed during Ellett’s tenure, he said.