The Woodward News

January 7, 2014

Commissioners take annual jail tour

Rachael Van Horn
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — For their first meeting of the year Monday morning, the Board of Woodward County Commissioners voted to appoint a new vice chairman and chairman of the board and performed a yearly inspection on the Woodward County Jail.

District 1 Woodward County Commissioner Tommy Roedell retired from his year long post as the chairman of the board being replaced by Woodward County Commissioner newcomer Randy Johnson.

This year marks the beginning of Johnson's second year in office. The commission chairman sits on the Tax Roll Collection Board as well as signs checks issued by the department and presiding over each of the Board of County Commissioner meetings.

District 3 County Commissioner Vernie Matt will serve as the vice chairman.

Commissioners also approved a resolution determining the maximum monthly highway expenditures for January to be $305,001.09.

As required by state statute, commissioners toured and inspected the Woodward County Jail. The tour was lead by Woodward County Sheriff, Gary Stanley.

Woodward County Jail began its third year in use, and is performing just as well as expected, Stanley said. The facility, which can house up to 140 prisoners, is proving to be a well built facility that provides state-of-the-art system security and ample space for both City of Woodward prisoners as well as county inmates, he said.

The project to build the new facility was begun in 2009, shortly after Stanley took office. The former facility was built to house about 41 and was regularly overcrowded.

Construction began in August of 2010. Prisoners began being moved into the facility in the last weeks of November 2011.

As the facility has been put to use, of course there are improvements that can be made, Stanley said as he lead commissioners through the facility.

In particular, a new x-ray chair has been ordered and is due to be installed directly in front of the booking area, Stanley said . The chair will enable authorities to know if an inmate is trying to smuggle anything into the jail through body cavities.

There are also plans to wall off the waiting area where prospective inmates wait while being booked to provide more privacy in the booking process, Stanley said.

Woodward County Commissioners found the jail to be in top working order, said Matt.