Jail slated to be named after its longtime sheriff

Essex County plans to rename its jail after the late Henry Hommes, a former state trooper who served as county sheriff for 13 years.

Hommes died of cancer in the summer of 2009, while he was still serving as sheriff. County Manager Dan Palmer said Hommes was respected for his bravery and sense of duty, and that he hardly missed any work.

"Not even while he was undergoing treatment," Palmer said.

Palmer described Hommes as a former state trooper who commanded respect, even from inmates.

"He gained a huge amount of support and respect from the people who worked under him and even the people he had to [lock up]," Palmer said.

"You knew if you were going to be sent to Henry's jail, you'd at least be treated fairly," he added.

County supervisors voted unanimously Monday to consider the feasibility of changing the name of the Essex County Jail and Public Safety building to the Henry H. Hommes Memorial Jail and Public Safety Building.

But Palmer said the final wording might be changed slightly for the sake of brevity.

The county is also waiting for an estimate on the cost of changing the current sign, which Palmer described as "hard to read" because of its "light gold lettering." He said the new sign would be easier to read.

Hommes oversaw the 2007 transition from the old Essex County Jail in Elizabethtown to the much larger 120-bed jail in Lewis. Following Hommes' death, his undersheriff, Richard Cutting, was elected to the position.

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