Holding facility agreement signed by Commissioners

By Taylor Risse

After a long, drawn out process, the Bennett County Board of Commissioners signed the joint-powers agreement between the City of Martin and Bennett County at the January 8, regular meeting.

The agreement allows the city and county police forces to equally use the holding facility located in the Bennett County courthouse.

There was a lot of discussion held before the agreement was voted on with quite a bit of heat coming from a few members of the public.

Sheriff Paul Williams read a letter that he presented to the board from himself with statements from the Chief of Staff and past Chief of Staff at the Attorney General’s Office. 

The letter listed various issues with the agreement such as liability for the county, a clarification of which city personnel can watch arestees, and cost effectiveness for the county.

Williams filed the letter with the Auditor to show that he does not approve of the agreement.

Williams again asked the board to increase his budget so the agreement wouldn’t need to be signed.

Williams also again brought up giving the three cut off cells to the City for them to fix up and use.

Commissioner Schomp responded to the issues laid out in Williams’ letter.

The first thing Williams’ letter addressed was the county insurance going up, State’s Attorney Sarah Harris checked into it, and it won’t go up.

The second thing that was addressed was “qualified and trained employees over the age of 21” the wording was changed to “transport officer and cell monitor” so that any city employee cannot watch inmates, it has to be someone trained properly.

Another thing addressed in the letter was the county cost going up. Schomp gave estimates to how the county’s cost should not go up because if half the people that are now hauled to Winner, can get bonded out the next morning, that’s $55 a day saved for the county.

See January 15, 2020 Issue for Full Article

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