McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

July 9, 2012

Sheriff eyes improvements

Ada — John Christian, who was re-elected last week to a second term as Pontotoc County sheriff, says he’ll keep trying to improve the sheriff’s office.

“I think we’re on the right course,” Christian said. “We haven’t had, and I’ll knock on wood, a major crime committed in this county that hasn’t been solved since I’ve been sheriff. I’m very proud of that. Most of them were quickly solved because we didn’t stop until we had it taken care of. My goal is to keep that record.”

Christian said all law enforcement agencies in the county are working hard to keep the area safe.

“If anybody were to check our county, and you can do that through the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, compared to our surrounding counties, they’d be very proud of all that law enforcement has done,” Christian said. “It’s not just us. It’s all law enforcement. We get help from every agency that has jurisdiction in this county. It’s a combined effort with everybody to make this a safer county to live in, and I think it shows.”

Continuous improvement is his main goal.

One area of concern is visitation at Pontotoc County Justice Center. Christian said there have been problems with visitation due to the number of people visiting inmates.

“By fire marshal regulations, we have a capacity that we can have in that building, and people don’t understand that when they come to visit that I can only let so many people into the lobby area or I’ll be over the state fire marshal’s limit,” he said. “They get upset having to be outside in the heat, because when you have 40 or 50 people show up and there’s a limit of 25 people in that lobby at one time, about half will have to (wait) outside in the heat. So that’s angered a lot of people that we have this nice facility and they’re not allowed to come into the cool.”

Christian said he may have to change the days for visitation, which are normally on Saturdays and Sundays.

“I think that we can look at changing our days of visitation,” he said. “Of course, that’s going to anger people if I move certain (inmates visitation days) to the week because (relatives are) at work and would have to take off from work. It’s always problematic, no matter how you look at it.”

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