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Wichita County LEC fails state inspection

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 7:11 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The new jail in Wichita County failed its state inspection and will not be able to house inmates until the issues are corrected.

The state inspection happened last week in the new $73 million law enforcement center. There were a number of minor issues the jail inspectors said will have to be changed; the failed issues ranged from broken windows, to plumbing, and even smoke detectors.

“Some of the areas that we were deficient in was plumbing,” said Wichita County Commissioner Mark Beauchamp. “We had 30 percent of our plumbing fixtures that did not work according to standard. Some of the things such as water pressure was inadequate.”

Commissioner Beauchamp said these are simple fixes.

The new jail is a huge building, ranging about 185,000 square feet and there are over a thousand plumbing fixtures inside the facility. Wichita County Sheriff David Duke said he didn’t expect the new jail to pass inspection on the first try.

“When they put the diagram inside the water system that had to be replaced, they didn’t turn the water back on, that’s all it was,” said Duke. “They just had to turn the water on. So, that’s all been corrected, that side of it. The smoke evacuation testing is very stringent.”

Besides the plumbing and smoke detector failures, Beauchamp said a few other issues prevented the new jail from getting the green light as well.

“Our inmate telephone system, which is a separate vendor outside of the contractor, was not fully operational,” said Beauchamp.

And then there were the windows.

“A couple of windows that were damaged in the construction project that were awaiting glass to be replaced that had not been repaired, required that to be repaired before we inhabit,” said Beauchamp.

Duke said he wants residents to know the jail will be here for a long time despite the failed inspection.

“This is a hundred-year facility hands down, 100 years easy,” said Duke.

Duke said he would rather this news come now before the inmates settle into the new facility. The new jail will be able to hold more inmates and it wouldn’t be as costly as the current jail, which he said is costing the taxpayers more money because of its old age.

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