The Sheriff’s Office has been working hard to hire staff and prepare the jail for the July 1 opening of more jail beds.
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office (“LCSO”) will bring on new staff and open up more jail beds in two phases, culminating in the reopening of 131 more jail beds by July 8, 2013 – all in the name of making Lane County a safer place to live. Housing areas of the jail that had been collecting dust are being cleaned and refurbished to hold inmates once again.
To keep all of the costs down we have been using inmate workers to complete much of the work. They are cleaning and painting the cells as well as re-grouting the showers in the housing areas that are being reopened. 14 previously laid off LCSO Deputy Sheriffs have accepted recall notices and will return to employment with LCSO. These are positions that were vacant and can be immediately filled and put to use.
We will fill the remaining 32 Deputy positions during a second recruiting campaign. These will be directly paid for with the levy money. In the near future we will be recruiting and filling the remaining 6.5 positions that make up the rest of the positions which will be paid for with the levy.
The Sheriff’s Office is working hard to get the jail beds reopened as soon as possible so the community can begin to feel some relief from the daily capacity based releases that we have all endured for far too long. The planning began well before the levy passed in hopes that it indeed would; now this preplanning is paying off by accelerating our opening of the additional beds.
While the reopened beds won’t eliminate the early releases, they will allow the jail to hold more violent offenders rather than releasing them into the community. Anyone interested in employment opportunities within the Lane County Sheriff’s Office should visit http://jobs.lanecounty.org
I am excited about the progress so far and I have you, Lane County citizens, to thank for this opportunity. We are working on the annual audit of all expenditures of levy funds and I hope the information will be available soon so citizens can track how their money is being spent and ensure that it is spent exactly as you intended. The actual audit is relatively simple, but making the information it generates available on an ongoing basis is what I’m hoping for. It is also important to mention that the money is “carryover” money, so it cannot ever be used for a different purpose. If there is money left at the end of the five years we can continue using it for public safety until it is exhausted.
I plan to provide regular progress reports to the public on our use of the levy funds and to keep up a very robust public meeting schedule to continue to keep the Sheriff’s Office and our progress on everyone’s mind!
From all of us who work in your Sheriff’s Office to keep you safe -Thanks again to all of you who helped make this happen.
As always, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have a question or issue.
Tom Turner – Lane County Sheriff