The Putnam County Jail has a new face at the helm in the form of a 13-year veteran of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
Maj. Scott Surrency, who is originally from Hawthorne and spent the last few years leading the drug unit, has climbed through the ranks to become the new director of corrections. Surrency also worked for two years with the Interlachen Police Department prior to joining the sheriff’s office. Surrency is replacing former Director of Corrections John Valdes, who retired last month.
Surrency said he was appreciative of the opportunity to make a difference in the agency and called it humbling. He started Monday.
Law enforcement can change lives and it’s one of the most rewarding things about the job, Surrency said.
“At one time in my life, I was at a crossroads. … I wasn’t really sure what to expect (in law enforcement),” Surrency said. “I eventually wanted to get into working narcotics because of what a devastating effect on friends, family members and the community. That was my driving force, an opportunity to be good in that respect.”
Surrency’s initial goals are evaluating different aspects of the jail, reviewing drug abuse programs, taking care of employees and their needs, and capitalizing on their ideas. Treating inmates with dignity and respect while setting clear expectations is another priority.
“Substance abuse is a huge concern of mine. In the narcotics unit and on the street, we’ve had the opportunity to deal with a lot of the same people who are sitting in our jail,” Surrency said. “As long as they are continuing to use, they can ... victimize other people and get caught with drugs and find themselves in jails.”
Col. Joe Wells said he and Sheriff Gator DeLoach spoke to numerous candidates for the position from inside and outside the sheriff’s office for the position. He called Surrency the first choice and said corrections would be a new challenge for him.
Wells praised Surrency’s leadership and said he brought a fresh vision.
“Maj. Surrency has developed a reputation for supporting the folks who serve under his command and helping them achieve their goals,” Surrency said. “(He) is extremely in tune with the emotional resiliency needs of our deputies who serve in such demanding positions.”
Surrency was on the SWAT team and was an assistant district commander in the West District. He said most people don’t regularly interact with law enforcement, and when they do, it may be at the lowest point in their life.
“That can have a huge impact. What they walk away from that experience could be a life-changing experience,” Surrency said. “I’ve tried to keep that in mind throughout my career.”
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