Cherokee County Sheriff Dave Scott Tuesday presented the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors with an inspection report drafted by Iowa Chief Jail Inspector Delbert Longley.
In that report it stated that the Jail Inspection at the Cherokee County Law Enforcement Center (LEC) conducted on Aug. 12 included an examination of staff training records, required documentation, prisoner files, jail policy and procedures, and a tour of the jail.
Among the comments highlighted in that report was that the classification of separation of prisoners as required by Iowa Code 201-50.13(1) is difficult here due to the design of the jail.
Jail Administrator Marlene Ebert states that prisoners are moved to other facilities if the required separation of prisoners cannot be accomplished at the Cherokee County Jail.
The report recommendation is to continue to move prisoners to a facility that can provide the required separation if separation cannot be accomplished in the Cherokee County Jail.
Other comments in the report are the door between the office and the jail is not secured. This is a safety and security issue due to prisoners being moved through the non-secured areas of the jail for exercise. Also, unauthorized staff and public have access to the jail without any locked barrier between the office and jail.
Corrected action was recommended in the report that the door between the secure and non-secure areas of the jail and office shall remain locked at all times.
The report also commented that the sink in the single isolation cell does not have adequate cold water and recommends adequate water is available at all times.
Additional comments were that the visitation is currently being conducted by allowing the visitor in the secure area of the jail. The area designated as visitation does not provide good privacy, sight or sound barriers between the cell blocks.
During the inspection, there was discussion about moving the jail office into the current Sheriff's Office located outside the secured perimeter of the jail to ensure the jail staff is readily accessible to the jail, the jail remains secured, and audio/visual observation is available in the office.
The delivery dock is also an emergency egress for the jail. This area has many files in boxes and file cabinets and would make evacuation difficult in the case of an emergency, according to the report. Other items mentioned in the report were that the jail is clean and well managed, documentation was current and available for inspection, and the jail staff is doing a good job in a facility that was not designed for current needs.
Major improvements made include the installation of a new fire alarm system, new lights, video recording and monitoring, and a revised menu.
Upon completion of the above corrective action, the Cherokee County Jail will be in compliance with Chapter 201-50 of the Iowa Administrative Code.
After presenting the report to the Board, Scott once again stated that their space needs for the LEC is inadequate and believes that it will be a problem down the road.
He stated to the Board "We're simply out of space."
A Board discussion proceeded on how to provided the LEC with extra space. The Board suggested that they give a proposal to the City of Cherokee to ask the Cherokee Police Department to move from the LEC to the recently vacated building on West Maple Street that housed the Department of Human Services, a building that is owned by the County. It was the Board's opinion that would provide the room at the LEC with the space needed to expand the facility and properly store records.
Supervisors Mark Leeds and Terry Graybill were to present this offer to the City sometimes this week.
Two years ago, the Sheriff's Department led a lengthy campaign to build a new County Jail, resulting in a special election August 4, 2009. Voters defeated that measure that carried an estimated cost not to exceed $3,750,000.
In other business, the Board heard from LeDen Pingel of the Cleghorn Fire Department. Pingel requested funds to help buy equipment for a new Equipment Van that was recently purchased by the Cleghorn Fire Department. The Board took Pingel's request under advisment and the Board took no action at this time.
Also, Jim Dewitt of the Washta Fire Department addressed the Board requesting funds to help them outfit a used truck with a pumping unit to be used for grass fires. Again, the Board took his request under advisement and took not action at this time.
The Board also approved a fireworks permit for an upcoming wedding at Silver Sioux, and approved the FY11 Substance Abuse Prevention Contract with Jackson Recovery. That contract provides Jackson Recovery with $3,300 in funds.
The Board then approved the 4-H Vision Iowa Grant that will guarantee funds from pledged amounts for a two to three year period.