Photo: Aerial view of the Baxter County Detention Center courtesy of Sheriff John Montgomery shows work underway on the expansion. A live feed of the project is available online at baxtercountysheriff.com/jailexpansion.
With his eye on a projected mid-August timeline for occupancy of the Baxter County Detention Center expansion, Sheriff John Montgomery is poised to take the next step with a request for additional personnel. Montgomery says he will make his request before the Baxter County Quorum Court Personnel Committee Tuesday afternoon.
Montgomery says his goal is to obtain final approval from the quorum court in July for the additional personnel and secure the new hires by Aug. 1.
Montgomery says it is estimated the remodeling of the current jail will take 60 to 90 days.
With the new hires, the Baxter County Sheriff says his staffing will be brought to current level needs.
Montgomery says the current jail has 100 beds and has been consistently beyond capacity for some time, leading to the need for the expansion.
The sheriff says in the summer of 2018 the jail set a record of 141 inmates.
He says while he does not have an issue with inmates sleeping on the floor, the large numbers become a safety concern, particularly for staff.
Montgomery says there is no question drugs and drug-related crimes have increased jail populations.
He says he's hopeful the additional beds will have a positive effect toward incarceration in the long run.
The jail construction and the ongoing expenses, including additional staffing, are being financed through two sales tax initiatives overwhelming passed by the voters. Collection of an ongoing one-quarter percent sales tax started in January.
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