Sheriff eyes three jails as examples for new jail
Published 5:17 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2019
For more than two decades, grand juries have citied Warren County for conditions and capabilities of the Warren County Jail. In report after report, they have called on the county to make improvements; make changes.
With the county now owning a piece of property for a new jail and topographical work by engineers already underway, the routine criticism by grand juries might soon be a thing of the past.
At Tuesday’s work session of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, representatives with Stantec, the county’s engineering firm, said topographical surveys and work on the property — slowed by recent wet weather — should soon be completed. And reviews by forestry officials about the likelihood of selling timber off the property will soon be completed as well.
The next step for county leaders and Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace is to begin looking at facilities in the region that might prove to be good examples of what can and should be built here.
“There are three facilities we want to go look at that have been built in the past five-to-10 years that are modern construction and are in communities close to the size of our community,” Pace said.
The three visits Pace hopes to arrange include tours of facilities in Garland County, Ark., Hancock County and Senatobia.
The trips, Pace said, would include himself, county administrator John Smith, jail administrator Linda Pugh and any supervisors who would like to join.
“It is important to go and see these facilities in person, rather than just seeing plans on paper,” Pace said.
But, while these tours are important to the jail construction process, Pace said they would not be scheduled until after backwater floods recede, allowing residents in the backwater flood areas to return home.
“I do not want to leave the county, leave my deputies, at a time when there is so much that we are currently dealing with,” Pace said. “I have deputies who are working overtime, working on their only days off to address this situation.”
During Tuesday’s work session, supervisors said the delay in visiting the three sites would not slow progress on preparing the site.
“Getting the topographical work done, along with the timber and grubbing of the property, will give us a better idea of what type of facility we can build,” Board of Supervisor chair Richard George said.
“I applaud the board, and appreciate the board, on moving this project along. It is so important for the community that we move ahead,” Pace said, adding he had already reached out to officials for each of the three facilities.