Jail Trust Chair Responds After Okla. County Sheriff Writes Letter On Taking Over The Jail


Thursday, October 24th 2019, 10:43 pm
By: Bonnie Campo


Oklahoma County Sheriff PD Taylor called a press conference to remind the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority to stick to their timeline and take over the operations by January 1, 2020. 

The sheriff said the Jail Trust was formed over the summer, and it’s time for them to take action.

“They are going to have to take the responsibility and reliability,” said Sheriff Taylor. “Commissioner (Kevin) Calvey said over and over it was their plan to take over by January 1.”

Read Also: Sheriff Writes Letter To Jail Trust, Suggests They Take Over Oklahoma County Jail Operations January 2020

Jail Trust Chair Tricia Everest said there is no confirmed timeline, but that they are working diligently. She said they are still collecting financial information and creating a transition plan, and adding the operating budget is still unknown.

“We are in uncharted waters. So, we are learning quite a bit,” said Everest. “When I read the letter that the sheriff sent me yesterday, I recognized it is his intentions to push along the process that we are already working on.”

Here is a copy of that letter:

The sheriff wrote that he hopes soon the Jail Trust will have "hired a jail administrator" that will offer the same current "retirement and benefits" to employees, and "secured a lease agreement with Oklahoma County."

The sheriff added his employees have uncertainty about the jail, which has caused a "mass exodus" of staff. He estimates 100 people have left in the past three months, and that many of those employees were seasoned veterans.

Read Related Story: OCSO Says Jail Employees Quitting Over Future Benefits, Compensation

It’s important to note the sheriff is also on the Jail Trust board and will help make future decisions.

As for the chairwoman, she said together the different agencies are making progress, but they aren't there yet.

Ultimately, if the Jail Trust is not ready to take over January 1, she said others need to be flexible.

“No one person, no one trustee has the authority to determine when the Trust is to take it over,” said Everest.

Both sides said they are willing to work with each other.

The chairwoman added she has faith in the sheriff and his department.

In his letter, the sheriff said there have been accusations that the jail was mismanaged.

Everest said she does have high respect for Sheriff Taylor, and that is not the position of the board. Rather, she commends him for lowering the jail’s inmate population, and looks forward to working with him in the future.

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