Johnny Klevenhagen, was named for his legendary Texas Ranger father. He joined the Harris County Sheriff's Department in 1961 at the age of twenty-one. He rose steadily through the ranks until 1973, when Sheriff Jack Heard named him Major of the Patrol Bureau. Later, he commanded the Detective Bureau, as well as the Detention Bureau, before retiring in 1981 to enter private business. In 1984, Klevenhagen decided to run against Jack Heard in the Sheriff's race. He beat his old boss in a Democratic party runoff and took office in 1985. Sheriff Klevenhagen served during perhaps the most difficult, yet challenging, period of the Department's history. He had to cope with skyrocketing numbers of inmates, battle with Commissioners Court for funding and manpower, and fight a lawsuit alleging unconstitutional jail conditions.