Brown County Commissioners unanimously voted Monday to appoint Brownwood police detective Doug Hurt to fill the unexpired term of Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Walter B. Croft, who died in May.
    Hurt said he will give two-week notice at the Brownwood Police Department and he and commissioners agreed on an Aug. 1 start date. Justices of the peace in Brown County are paid $41,440 annually. Croft’s term ends Dec. 31, 2018, and Hurt said he looks forward to running for the seat.
    Commissioners chose Hurt, a 1978 graduate of Brownwood High School who is also a minister, from among five applicants. Hurt has been with the Brownwood Police Department for 4 1/2 years and is a 16-year law enforcement veteran.
    “I’m excited about it,” Hurt said. “I appreciate the opportunity. Obviously Walter B. can’t be replaced. All I can do is fill that position. But I’m excited about the opportunity and will just continue upholding that office in the same manner he did. I know that he was well loved.”
    An interviewing committee consisting of Brown County Judge Ray West, Precinct 1 Commissioner Gary Worley and Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Bryan Thompson.
    “We interviewed five very capable men for the position,” West said. “Each one of them brought their own individual assets to the interview process. … it’s difficult when you have five applicants as qualified as the ones we have.”
    Worley agreed, saying “it was not an easy choice.”
    Hurt worked previously for the Midland and Early police departments and the Brown County Sheriff’s Office. He took a break from law enforcement to be a full-time pastor in Christoval.
    Hurt currently is a bi-vocational pastor at North Ridge Baptist Church.
    “Again, I know that I won’t be able to replace (Croft), but I’ll certainly do everything in my power to fill that position as he did,” Hurt said.
    “I’ve been in public service most of my life and I just felt like that was an opportunity to continue serving the cities of Brownwood for several years to come. I look forward to that and the opportunity to run when the time comes next year.”
    Hurt said there are similarities between working as a pastor and working in law enforcement or criminal justice. “It’s all people, relationships, working with people,” Hurt said. “All of us have our issues, concerns, whatever.
    “The pastorate and law enforcement or the criminal justice system all deal with faireness to people and how they’re treated.”