Letter to the Editor

Jail misconceptions

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Dear Editor,

Having read the Gazette articles and Chief Brown's "Jail Report," I am offended by his attempt to feed me half the facts and the Gazette printing them without analysis.

This is just another example of city hall's belief the citizens of McCook are idiots and can be easily misled.

It is also time for the Gazette to pay their rent by serving their subscribers with facts and not the gospel according to city hall. Forgetting the verbose mumbo-jumbo in Chief Brown's report, he states the cost of a new jail/sheriff's office would be about $3,500,000.

He states if city police/fire facilities were combined with the county venture there would be "added" costs of about $4,000,000 for a total of about $7,500,000.

The city has already stated they want a new fire/ police/ city hall building.

What Chief Brown fails to mention is if the county goes it alone it will cost $3,500,000 AND if the city then builds its monument to mismanagement we will spend at least another $5,000,000 when one adds in the cost of new city hall. Where's the savings?

For the city to even consider asking us to build them a new city hall is slap in the face ... if they were operating from a facility based on their financial management of our money ... they'd be working out of a tent.

Contrary to Mr. Brown's claim, combining the facilities does not "add" anything to real costs. In reality, based on my 33 years construction experience, a combined facility would probably save a considerable amount.

For starters, we'd only need to buy one site. It's cheaper to build a duplex than two single family homes.

Next Chief Brown states the city would pay 70 percent of the costs and 70 percent of operations ... SURPRISE! McCook is already paying 70 percent. Seventy percent of the county's tax base is in the city of McCook. Today, if the county buys a roll of bathroom tissue, the city pays 70 percent of the cost. McCook pays 70 percent of the hundreds of thousands of dollars we send to other counties to house our inmates. Let's keep the money and the jobs here.

I would hazard a guess that on average 75 to 80 percent of the inmates the county must house come from within the city limits of McCook. By paying 70 percent we're getting a good deal.

McCook has been very lucky for 20 years shuttling prisoners back and forth from Curtis, Trenton and Oberlin. Very fortunate an officer or an inmate haven't been injured or killed in an auto accident. Very fortunate some inmate's buddies haven't waited in ambush to free their comrade. Do we wait for our luck to run out?

Like it or not certain things are going to happen, county-wide law enforcement makes sense ... the horse and buggy are gone. A regional law enforcement center, believe it or not, will happen as the Feds continue to force regulations on smaller jails.

Let's put McCook and Red Willow County ahead of the curve.

'Nuff said.

Bill Frasier,


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