Wichita County jail bond discussions continue

Wichita County jail bond discussions continue
A Sketch Of A Possible New Jail
A Sketch Of A Possible New Jail
Wichita County Citizens Attending The Public Hearing
Wichita County Citizens Attending The Public Hearing

WICHITA COUNTY, TX (KAUZ) - A vote on a $70 million dollar bond for a new Wichita County jail is less than three weeks away.

Monday morning county commissioners held a public hearing to lay out all of the details.

One county resident is concerned about a misconception she is hearing about a new jail.

She believes some think this is not the best plan that can be put forward.

"That presents a picture that is disturbing because it presents a picture that maybe this isn't the best plan," she said.

But all the parties involved insist that it is.

"There would be no reason we would hide a better plan," Wichita County Judge, Woody Gossom said. "There really isn't."

"This whisper campaign that may be happening about there being a better plan, you better get in here and show it to us because we dang sure can't find it," Wichita County Sheriff, David Duke said.

HOK Architecture presented their plans to the public, which includes a new booking area that would hold 72 people.

The current area can only hold 15.

"When an officer brings someone into the facility, they often have to sit in the vehicle sally port area before they can actually get into the building with their detainee," HOK Vice President of Architecture, Curt Parde said. "That's not very secure."

That set up has led to three escapes in the last two years.

But Parde said that would not be the only positive.

"It would be really safe for the officers, for the detainees, for the public," Parde said. "But most importantly, it would get the officers back out on the street quicker."

Sometimes officers and deputies have to spend four to seven hours booking.

Sheriff Duke said the current jail is in such bad shape it is comical.

That is why many want the public to be informed.

"I think that most everybody seems to understand that there is definitely a need for a jail facility here in Wichita County that is more modern, up-to-date, and provides better services for the county," Parde said.

The new jail would have 672 direct supervision jail beds.

Judge Gossom said right now is the best time for a bond because of interest rates.

He added that based on current projections, the tax would be anywhere between approximately five and a half and six and a half cents.

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