Jail input sought from public

By Lance Pyle: Guest columnist

I would like to openly address public concerns about the recent incident at the Curry County Adult Detention Center.

Interim Detention Administrator Tori Sandoval and Assistant County Manager Connie Harrison have completed the investigation into the escape that occurred early last Sunday morning.

The results of that investigation concern me as much as they do county residents.

This type of incident is unacceptable and cannot continue to happen.

I am just like the public. I am tired of it.

We have 70 employees who work at the adult detention center. I am proud of and support the dedicated, loyal majority of them. They give more than 100 percent to their jobs and on average receive $11.63 per hour.

I admire them for serving the public in this way because it takes a unique person to work in this capacity.

However, those who have violated county policy and jeopardized our safety will be dealt with correctly, according to policy.

As county manager, the buck stops with me — but I also welcome the input of the community.

Over the next month, I will be asking for residents to come and provide input and offer assistance for addressing our community need.

I will be scheduling several public meetings where I am going to ask law enforcement, community, city leaders and anyone else with interest for assistance.

I agree with many residents that the detention center should be out in the county, have razor wire fencing and perimeter fence around the building for safety. We must find a way to make this facility secure to prevent irresponsible acts in the future. The perimeter fence more than likely would have prevented last Sunday’s unbelievable escape.

I have been county manager for four years and the easy thing would be to give up — but I will not! And I challenge you, the residents of our community, to not give up either.

We need to partner with each other to resolve issues that concern us all. It serves no purpose to sit back, point fingers and provide negative comments. That type of response only hurts this great community we live and worship in; it hurts the detention officers who go above and beyond each day, and it casts doubt about our community to people who might be looking to relocate here.

The county commission has embarked on several projects, from horse stalls at the Events Center to a county administration complex.

I will be asking the county commission at its next scheduled meeting to approve a recommendation that I have formulated: To put this incident and public safety issues as top priority, giving the adequate time and resources these concerns deserve.

Finally, I would encourage the detention center employees at all levels, if they feel unsafe and see county policy being violated that compromises our safety and security, to report it.

If the supervisors allow it, I ask they report it directly to me. My home number is 218-3886; my cell number is posted at the detention center.

Any issue I know about will be addressed.

In closing, I am asking for suggestions again — not complaints and gripes, as that is not going to help. Please contact me or a member of your county team at 763-6016.