OK Co. Sheriff: Inmates Clog Pipes To Flood Jail Offices On Purpose

Monday, January 5th 2015, 6:31 pm
By: News 9

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office started the new year off with a huge mess at the county jail.

Several offices were flooded with sewer water and the Sheriff said the inmates caused the mess on purpose.

“On January 2nd, the season must have been the reason, it was just, you know, one of those Happy New Year presents,” said Sheriff John Whetsel.

1/5/2015 Related Story: Oklahoma County Jail Flooded Again

Sheriff Whetsel said inmates flushed socks down the toilets to clog the pipes and the mess overflowed into the offices on the bottom floors.

“The bad thing for our employees is that this is sewer water, so this is sewer water that comes down on desks, on personal property,” Whetsel told News 9.

Jail employees found the standing water when they got to work.

The Sheriff said the sewer system is not a jail-rated sewer system, it's a commercial-rated system and it does not have all the stops in the pipes that would prevent this kind of thing from happening to his employees.

“They shouldn't be back there cleaning up sewer water and that kind of material, but they have to,” Sheriff Whetsel explained. “There's no one else to clean it up,” he added.

The sheriff said all the inmates know how to flood the offices and it happens about once a month.

“I've been Sheriff 18 years and we've been dealing with it 18 years that I know of,” Whetsel said.

This latest clog was believed to have started on the sixth floor and damaged the first floor.

Two computer monitors were damaged and several ceiling tiles needed to be replaced.

Add in the manpower it took to clean it all up and the flood cost about $5,000.

“It's an ongoing battle,” Sheriff Whetsel added.

The Sheriff said it would take roughly $20 million to fix the plumbing issues, so they just live with it and clean up the messes as they come.

12/11/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma County Jail Safety Concerns

The sheriff's office could go after the inmate responsible, but the design of the building makes it almost impossible to find out exactly which inmate did it.