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Now Is The Time For Public Safety Center

By Staff | Feb 25, 2021

To the Editor:

I am asking for the citizens of Palo Alto County to support the upcoming bond referendum for the new Palo Alto County Public Safety Center. I have worked for the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office since July 2005. Over that time period, there has been a lot of changes at the Sheriff’s Office. One thing however remains the same, the current structure housing the Jail, Communication Center, and the Sheriff’s Office.

The original Jail was built in 1908 and is very outdated and not a safe environment for the inmates it houses. The current jail, has conduit exposed, water lines exposed, and radiators in the cells. All of these things, along with actual bars, create a number of concerns for our inmates. Over the years we have had conduit pulled down, water lines ripped down, and even a radiator pulled off of the wall. All of these things create hazards and potential liabilities for the county.

We currently have 6 cells on the main jail level and 2 cells upstairs. The upstairs cells have also been a particular concern over the years. When bringing inmates up and down to the cells, the stairs are wooden and very narrow which create a hazard for the jailer and inmate. We have had to call the ambulance to come and check on inmates and this creates an issue of safety for first responders as well.

This jail does not meet the demands of todays jail standards. Jail Inspections are always a concern. Although Sheriff Schultes and jail staff do a great job of addressing the issues of the structure, it is only a matter of time before the jail will be shut down. This will also create a large cost to the county. We do from time to time have to house inmates at other facilities. This is not very cost effective for the county. This has been an issue with Covid this past year as most facilities will not house other counties inmates at this time.

I would ask that you as citizens of Palo Alto County, please read the news releases and flyers that Sheriff Schultes has put out. They are very informative and will give you a great picture of why we are in need of a new Public Safety Center.

Now is the time to build this facility. The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors have chosen to finance the Public Safety Center with TIF funds generated from the wind turbine farm in the north east part of the county. This means that this Public Safety Center will be built and financed without a tax increase. Who knows if this will be an option for financing this building in the future. Please get out and vote “YES”. Thank you for your time and consideration.

(Signed) John King Chief Deputy

Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office