MIAMI — When the county commissioners met for their regular meeting Monday they were greeted with the news that there had been another inmate incident at the jail over the weekend that caused some damage and threatened the security of the facility.
All three Ottawa County commissioners and other officials went on a jail inspection tour after learning that two inmates had vandalized an area in an inmate pod over the weekend that enabled them to remove a metal plate and gain access through the walls into the female inmate cells and the mechanical room.
It is not known if the men were actually able to make it into the female pod.
“In the pods there is a shower on the second level that is not being used and there was a metal plate put over the area where the faucets would come through the concrete wall,” District 3 commissioner Russell Earls said. “It had been secured with some lag bolts and screws, but evidently the inmates somehow got a screwdriver from somewhere and removed all the screws and that gave them an escape route.
“The damage wasn’t real bad. We think they were trying to get into the female pod and I don’t know if they managed to do that or not, but that was their motive,” Earls said.
Board chairman and District 2 commissioner Chad Masterson agreed to find a welder immediately who could fix the damage and weld it in such a way that it can not happen again.
In addition to the three commissioners, other officials on the inspection tour included county clerk Robyn Mitchell, excise board chairman Larry Gatewood, emergency management director Chad Holcomb, and sheriff-elect David Dean.
Earls also suggested that the board start an inquiry into getting a new roof put on at the jail — a long-time issue. “We are probably going to need some architectural drawings and, with permission, I will pursue that. And it’s possible we could use COVID funds to pay for it,” he said.
Also during Monday’s meeting, county resident Raymond Barnett reported that he was coming home with a stock trailer recently and turned off Highway 10 heading north towards Peoria after dark and broke an axle “because of the potholes out there. Why can’t you fix them potholes?”
Masterson said, “I believe that’s 670 Road. We have worked on that road. And we will continue to work on it and the other roads nearby. But the problem is that concrete trucks travel that road, even though I have tried to keep them off of it, and it’s causing that damage.”
Barnett then asked what the county is going to do about his $600 repair bill.
District Attorney Kenny Wright was consulted and he reported that the county is not liable to pay for damages to vehicles caused by road conditions.
He recommended that Masterson check the road again to make sure it meets county standards.
In other matters, the commissioners also approved a resolution for an environmental regulatory review and checklist, and a utility and encroachment affidavit, for a S. 680 Road surfacing project in District 2, which will be a 1.76-mile project.
Masterson said he is already working with ODOT and Guy Engineering on it.
In addition, the board approved a contract agreement for the emergency and transportation revolving fund between the board and the Oklahoma Cooperative Circuit Engineering Districts Board.