Newly Sworn-In Sheriff P.D. Taylor Discusses Priorities, Inmate Deaths
OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Oklahoma - On the same day P.D. Taylor took his oath of office as Oklahoma County Sheriff, another inmate died. 62-year old Trenton Cole had been in the jail for 12 days on drug charges.
The sheriff says he wants to improve screening for physical and mental health problems at the jail to prevent this from happening.
"If we had information when a person comes here that they've got a pacemaker, they have heart problems, heart disease, I’m sure the person wasn't taking blood pressure medicine and they come here really sick with a lot of preexisting conditions," Sheriff Taylor said.
Taylor says, ultimately, the county needs a new jail. Until that happens, he says he wants increase salaries to attract better employees and install more security cameras.
Back in July, inmate Maurice Pendleton was killed on the basketball court, a victim of what the sheriff calls gang violence. There were no working cameras at the time.
"All that's been fixed. Cameras are working,” Taylor said. “No inmates on the basketball court anymore."
The sheriff says he has a list of goals to improve the jail. We asked him to be specific. "No. You come in here to just hammer me so..." That’s when the sheriff walked out of the interview.
The sheriff did tell us he was tired before the interview, but was willing to go forward with it. We had set up the interview last week.