McCOOK, Nebraska -- Red Willow County, Nebraska, commissioners decided this morning to work out an arrangement with the City of McCook to use the city's public safety center and jail cells until the county's new law enforcement center and jail is completed in late 2013.
It'll be a temporary arrangement, for about one year, commission chairman Earl McNutt said. Gerry Hunter, the county's jail administrator, agreed that the use of the city's jail facilities would alleviate prisoner/public/officer/county safety, security and liability concerns, between the time when the city no longer operates its jail cells and the county's new jail is completed.
Sheriff Gene Mahon emphasized that the use of the city's jail would be on a temporary basis. "It's not going to stop the (county's) jail project," he said. "We don't need another 30-year short-term project."
Mahon was referring to the years since 1983, when the county's jail (in the sheriff's office west of the courthouse on Norris Avenue) closed "temporarily" because state officials decided it did not meet state jail standards. The jail was never renovated, a new jail was not built and the county has continued for the 29-30 years since to contract with other counties to house its prisoners and has regularly transported prisoners to and from Hitchcock, Frontier, Decatur, Phelps and Dawson counties.