The Norman Transcript

November 6, 2012

County approves holding cells plan

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Cleveland County commissioners approved a new plan Monday for day holding cells for inmates awaiting court hearings.

“We have a revised architectural plan for the third floor (of the east courthouse). The basement is not going to work out,” County Commissioner Rod Cleveland said.

Four floor plan options were available for the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office to consider, all of which were on the third floor in the east part of the courthouse. The sheriff’s office suggested what was listed as “Option C.”

“It requires the building of less walls, but most importantly, it allows an extremely clear view from the door entry on both sides. It allows the exclusion of male and females, which we wanted, and it also allows safety,” Undersheriff Rhett Burnett said.

Burnett said all of the other plans provided blind spots for deputies entering the area, so “Option C” provides the best sight lines and egress.

Commissioner Rusty Sullivan said the basement wasn’t going to work out because of the egress and this was an alternate plan. He also said it would probably be the safest option.

In September, the board of commissioners had the idea to have the holding cell in a basement room of the county office building, but a city of Norman fire inspector rejected the plan.

Sullivan said last week that he requested the architect to have the third floor area in the east courthouse inspected by a fire inspector. Sullivan said the area is where a portion of the original jail used to be before it was gutted years ago.

The space is currently being used for storage for the sheriff’s office and the court clerk. He said the area is directly adjacent to the security area that is currently set up on the third floor of the courthouse.

The design of the project was the only thing approved. Sullivan said they have not yet received an estimate on the price of the project. He said the district attorney’s office told them the project could be paid for from funds generated by the jail sales tax.

The project will be further discussed at the next Jail Authority Meeting on Nov. 19 at 11 a.m. in the Cleveland County Courthouse.

Other items on the agenda included:

· A Cleveland County resolution updating the CIRB Program five-year allocation plan.

· The jail report from the sheriff’s office. There are currently 406 inmates in the county jail, 80 of which will be transported by the Department of Corrections.

· The appointment of Sheriff Joe Lester and Undersheriff Rhett Burnett as requesting officers.

· The renewal of a county bid for the rental and cleaning of new uniforms for another year. All terms and conditions will remain the same.

· A maintenance software agreement between the Cleveland County assessor and Apex Software at the cost of $3,915. The agreement had no changes from last year.

· Meeting dates and times for Calendar Year 2013.

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