McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

September 18, 2013

Question over city/county jail agreement headed to attorney general

McALESTER — Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel  Kerns said he doesn’t mind signing a multi-year contract with the city of McAlester calling for the county to house individuals arrested by city police on city warrants.

He just wants Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to OK it first.

The matter came up during the regular meeting of the Pittsburg County commissioners held Monday at the Pittsburg County Courthouse in McAlester. An agenda item called for the county commissioners to either  approve or disapprove “a county jail services agreement between the city of McAlester and the Pittsburg County Criminal Justice Center,” the official name of the county jail.

During the meeting, District 1 Commissioner Gene Rogers and District 2 Commissioner Kevin Smith tabled the item at Kern’s request, after the sheriff told the commissioners he is requesting an attorney general’s opinion on the matter.

After the meeting, Kerns said he didn’t have an issue with the county and city signing an agreement for city of McAlester prisoners to be held at the county jail.

“We already have agreements with Krebs and Savanna,” he said.

The hold-up is with the terms of the proposed agreement, according to Kerns.

“Their agreement says they want a five-year contract,” Kerns said, referring to  the proposed agreement with annual options submitted by the city of McAlester for the county commissioners to approve.

“The county can’t enter into an agreement for over a year,” Kerns said. District 18 District Attorney Farley Ward’s office has advised Kerns and the commissioners to get input from the attorney general before approving an agreement.

“The district attorney advised us we need to get an attorney general’s opinion,” Kerns said.

In Pittsburg Coubty, all prisoners arrested on felony complaints are booked into the county jail, but the city of McAlester now wants to also book those arrested for lesser offenses, including unpaid traffic fines.

The city of McAlester has previously used its three cells as holding facilities, where inmates arrested on lesser charges were usually not held for more than 12 hours at a time.

Now, they’re not even held that long. All three cells at City Hall have now been deemed unusable, according to Interim McAlester Police Chief Gary Wansick.

Kerns said the proposed agreement calls for the city of McAlester to pay $44 per day for city inmates who will be housed at the county jail, the same as what the state pays for Oklahoma Department of Corrections inmates held at the jail.

“That seems like a lot of money, but I don’t get that,” Kerns said. The sheriff said by the time the state takes its part and various other fees and costs are paid, there’s typically little left for the Sheriff’s Office.

City Manager Pete Stasiak says one of the reasons the city is seeking the agreement with the county concerns the dilapidated condition of the city jail.

If the city and county reach an agreement, then the city plans to start arresting people who have outstanding warrants for their arrest in regard to unpaid fines, according to Stasiak.

Wansick said Tuesday the jail cells at City Hall all have plumbing problems. The cells at City Hall also have other problems, including a lack of air conditioning.

“We haven’t used them since June,” Wansick said.

Since the commissioners tabled the item regarding the proposed agreement between the city and county on the jail issue, it’s expected to come up again Monday during the next regular meeting of the county commission.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • HolyWeek4Wed 1.jpg Gospel: 'The Good News' heard at Holy Week Breakfast

    Steve Glazier presented a pair testimonies of individuals who went on to have a significant impact on others  — a bank robber and a hony-tonk songwriter — when he spoke at the second gathering of this year’s Men’s Holy Week Breakfasts.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Dogwood Decorations All ladies welcome to luncheon

    The 42nd annual Women’s Holy Week Salad Luncheon is Thursday. The Thursday before Easter is commonly called Maundy Thursday by most Christians.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories

  • Still no filings for Ward 4 city council seat

    What if they called an election and nobody came —no candidates, that is.
    That’s the way things were shaping up late Tuesday afternoon for the vacant Ward 4 seat on the McAlester City Council.

    April 15, 2014

  • Square logo.jpg The McAlester Public Library offering free Computer Skills Workshop

    The McAlester Public Library will offer a free Computer Skills Workshop from April 16 to 18.
    The hands-on workshop will be taught by computer technician Anthony Smart and each participant will have a computer to work with.  The class will be held from 2:30 until 4 p.m. each day and is limited to 10 students.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Siren testing set for Wednesday, weather permitting

    Storm sirens are set for testing Wednesday in McAlester as well as a number of other Pittsburg County communities.
    “We will be testing from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., weather permitting,” said Lois Lupardus, assistant director of the McAlester/Pittsburg County Office of Emergency Management.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-15-BREAKFAST-1.jpg Men's Holy Week Breakfasts begin

    Tom Curtis spoke about the impact of several days of Holy Week during Monday’s opening session of this year’s Holy Week Breakfasts, held at the First Christian Church in McAlester.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • Square logo.jpg The McAlester Public Library offering free Computer Skills Workshop

    The McAlester Public Library will offer a free Computer Skills Workshop from April 16 to 18.
    The hands-on workshop will be taught by computer technician Anthony Smart and each participant will have a computer to work with.  The class will be held from 2:30 until 4 p.m. each day and is limited to 10 students.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Filing period opens for Ward 4 McAlester City Council seat

    Take the Ward 4 McAlester City Council seat — please.
    That’s the wish of several McAlester city officials, who are trying for the second time to get someone to file as a candidate as the Ward 4 McAlester city councilor.

    April 14, 2014

  • Vehicle Accident Bridge Accident

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIBRARY.png AT THE LIBRARY

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
NDN Video
8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Toddler climbs into vending machine Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America Applicants Vying for 'World's Toughest Job' Get Heartwarming Surprise Awkward: Crist catches Lt. Gov. insulting him on camera NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse US Airways Tweets Graphic Photo of Nude Woman Behind the scenes of the Marathon anniversary photo shoot American Airlines Responds After Girl Tweets Alleged Terror Threat 'Joke' Charlie White's "Dancing" Mistake Olympic Great & Baltimore Native Michael Phelps Ends Retirement; Eyes Rio 2014 NFL Draft: Potential Booms And Busts William and Kate Squash Baby No. 2 Rumors With a Wine-Tasting Trip Who Showed Up at Coachella?
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.