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Mayor names new jail director

Mayor Jim Gray today nominated Rodney Ballard as Director of the Division of Community Corrections.

Ballard has 30 years of experience in law enforcement and corrections. He currently serves as Deputy Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Corrections, where he has oversight of Probation and Parole and inspections of county jails statewide.

“Interim Director Ray Sabbatine has established a foundation of good management and best practices at our Detention Center. He has improved the safety of the public, inmates and corrections officers,” Gray said. “Rodney Ballard is well equipped to build on that foundation and make this facility a model of strong management. A well-run jail is essential to ensure the public safety of this community.”

Ballard said, “Lexington has a proud history of leadership in corrections management. And while we've had a rocky road lately, I just see today as an opportunity for improvement. I appreciate the culture of excellence and continuous improvement Mayor Gray is creating in Lexington. That's what encouraged me to apply for the job. It's more than just a job for me. It's about building the very best operation in America, right here in Lexington.” Ballard plans to begin work March 15.

Gray appointed Sabbatine Interim Director after Ron Bishop retired last August. Since then, Sabbatine, who previously worked at the jail between 1976 and 2001, has addressed many concerns at the facility. Sabbatine said he plans to return to corrections consulting.

Ballard began his career in 1982 as a police officer, first in Northern Kentucky, and then with the Kentucky State Police. In 1999 he moved into the corrections field. He was second in command at the Kenton County Detention Center before moving on to the state Department of Corrections.

Ballard’s appointment requires the approval of the Urban County Council.

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