Letter to the Editor

Jail safety issues

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to Mr. Dueland's comments recently regarding the jail study committee. I am one of the 50 percent of the jail committee who live outside the city limits of McCook. I honestly feel I represented ALL taxpayers concerning the new jail in Red Willow County.

With respect to the lack of representation of the merchants, Keystone Business Center, museum, schools, churches and surrounding neighborhood, why did they not come to the meeting that were held? All meetings were published in the Gazette with a date, time and location.

I was also asked to serve on the first jail study committee and several locations were evaluated with respect to the joint city/county facility. At that time, one of the locations was the West Ward site where the City of McCook is currently building the new Municipal Center that will house the fire, police and administrative departments.

There were some members of the previous jail study committee who voiced opinions as to why the West Ward location would not work for the joint facility. Something must have changed those individuals' opinions because they now support the new city facility being built at West Ward.

The city made the determination that they needed a better building to serve the citizens of McCook.

There is a concern among some within McCook that this will detract from the Heritage Square idea and I do not believe that the new Law Enforcement Center proposed will be a distraction to the neighborhood.

It will look like an office building similar to the one across the street that is home to an insurance company and dental office.

One of the primary reasons that the location north of the Red Willow County courthouse is the best choice is the SAFETY issue that arises during transporting the prisoners. The Red Willow County Sheriff's department has done all of the transport of prisoners the past 30 years and has not had an accident of any sort.

Sooner or later, Murphy's Law will kick in and an accident of some sort will happen during transport. If there is a fatality and a lawsuit is involved, the cost of the new proposed location of the jail will be minimal compared to the litigation costs.

In addition, Red Willow County needs to invest the dollars it spends on transporting and housing prisoners here in our own economy rather than the surrounding areas.

So, if me being part of that 50 percent on the jail committee cause Mr. Dueland serious concern, understand this, I did the best I could as a member of the latest jail study committee.

I do not believe in twisting figures and facts around. Speculation and gossip go hand-in-hand. With respect to your claim that the State of Nebraska will help pay for the jail by renting space from Red Willow County, IT ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN, no matter what kind of theories you propose. The 30 percent of the residents of Red Willow County who do not live in McCook pay a lot of property taxes and sales taxes.

Those very same local sales taxes that help keep your city property taxes low and are currently paying for the new City of McCook Municipal Center. You may want to think about that before you attack those outside the city of McCook. Those folks spend a lot of money in McCook and support a lot of local businesses.

As for my small business that I own and operate in Bartley, I spend better than 90 percent of my total expenses within the city limits of McCook. Please don't tell me that I don't have a vested interest in the new Red Willow County Law Enforcement Center located in McCook.

This project concerns of ALL of Red Willow County, not just the residents of McCook.

With all due respect to everyone involved,

Donnie Sughroue,

Bartley, Nebraska

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  • Mr. Sughroue, I have been waiting to see if there was going to be a response to your side of the story! You and the good people that took on this project should not be treated the way you have been! The select few that are calling you and the commissioners liars should be at the very least ashamed and embarrased by their accusations. I promise you that the majority of the people that matter in this county stand beside you and know that you did what was best for the taxpayers! You all should be proud for stepping up, and not kick the can down the road like they want you to do!

    -- Posted by smz on Fri, Apr 20, 2012, at 12:06 PM
  • Are the figures presented by Mr Dueland correct that the cost to house an inmate will go from around $80 per day to over $200 per day? What about his figure that the share of the county budget for law enforcement will more than double if a new facility is built?

    -- Posted by dennis on Mon, Apr 23, 2012, at 10:41 AM
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