NOWATA COUNTY, Oklahoma - There's a new interim sheriff in Nowata County after the former sheriff, undersheriff, and deputies resigned over problems with the jail.

The Nowata County Commissioners held an emergency meeting Wednesday appointing Mirta Hallett to be the sheriff. Interim Sheriff Mirta Hallett said her first priority is to get deputies hired and on the road.

She said folks can expect that will happen by Wednesday evening. Hallett said men and women with law enforcement experience have already shown interest in working for the sheriff's office.

Her other priorities include making repairs to the jail and getting Nowata County's inmates back. Right now, they're in Washington County.

This all comes after former Sheriff Terry Sue Barnett resigned because of safety concerns at the jail, and an order by Judge Carl Gibson to reopen it anyway. Nowata County Commissioners appointed Hallett as Barnett's replacement.

Hallett had a career with the sheriff's office lasting more than 30 years and decided to come out of retirement for the job.

 

 

"The decision, I think, was made rather quickly, because I knew that our county was in desperate need of someone to get people back on the road to protect the citizens of this county. And I know that I have the experience to open this jail back up and get our inmates back," said Hallett.

Interim Sheriff Hallett said she will not open up the jail until she has proper documentation indicating the jail is safe. There's no timeline for that right now.