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Much of Wednesday’s meeting of the Board of Oklahoma County Commissioners was taken up with contract renewals from several departments including eight from the Sheriff’s Department.

Approval of Community Support grants for a range of social services for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year were also on the agenda.

15-passenger van – why?

The Board approved the purchase of a 15-passenger van for use by District 2.

After the meeting District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan explained the purchase.

The SHINE Program participants perform court ordered community service with the county. The Public Defender’s office requires a pick-up and drop-off location and transport for the participants to and from worksites from that location. The new van is to transport participants around District 2 where they assist road crews and clean-up crews with projects.

Sheriff’s Items

Sheriff P.D. Taylor requested nine items for today’s agenda.

The first item, deferred from last week, was for approval of an Interagency Agreement to accept a grant from the Department of Environmental Quality. The grant partially funds an environmental crimes enforcement program. The program of the Sheriff’s Department investigates and goes into unincorporated parts of the county to clean up illegal dump sites.

At last week’s meeting, the item was deferred so that Captain David Baisden could provide a report to the Commissioners on the total costs of the program apart from the grant. Today District 3 Commissioner Kevin Clavey thanked Baisden for returning that report. And the item was passed.

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The second item was to approve a Memorandum of Understanding between the Nichols Hills Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office for NHPD to participate in the Oklahoma County Multi-Jurisdictional Tactical Unit, a special team trained to respond to high-risk critical incidents.

The Unit has officers from Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, Moore, Bethany, the Village, and OU Health Science Center police departments. The Sherriff’s office coordinates the team.

Officers attend regular training in best practices for SWAT. This MoU will allow Nichols Hill Police Department to send candidates to participate in training for the unit. The item passed.

Sheriff P.D. Taylor
Oklahoma County Sheriff P.D. Taylor. (file) Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press

The next six items were renewals of contracts with the Sheriff’s Office and companies providing technological support and waste-water removal. All items passed with little discussion.

The final item from the Sheriff was to accept Justice Assistance grant funds from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The funds are allocated according to crime rates. The higher the crime rate, the more money a jurisdiction is awarded. District 1 County Commissioner mentioned that this could be seen to dis-incentivise lowering crime rates.

The Sheriff’s Office has recently changed the radio system they use. They currently rent radios from the City of Oklahoma City. This $161,162.00 in grant money will pay for those radios.

Social Services Grants

Christi Marshall, Director of Oklahoma County Social Services, brought recommendations from the Social Support Committee for County Grant funding for service providers across the county for Fiscal Year 2019-2020. Marshall presented two options for dividing the proposed $273,000 among 21 providers.

Discussion among the Commissioners revealed that Blumert preferred Option 2, Maughan preferred Option 1, and Calvey was undecided. In a candid and collegial fashion, Calvey questioned the preferences and adjusted amounts until consensus was reached between the three Commissioners.

The amended funding schedule was approved unanimously.

Notably, to make the necessary adjustments to the budget an award to the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority was removed.

New recipients of grant money this year were Children’s Rehab Center of Bethany City Care, who will receive $5000, and City Care, who receive $26,000.

Bids opened

Bids from several companies for operation of the OCSO Inmate Telephone and Video Visitation Services were opened. The Trustees of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority have requested that the bids not be answered until the Trust has had an opportunity to review them.

The bids will be accepted and tallied by the Purchasing Agent, but no further action will be taken until the Trust has reviewed them. The current contract for those services is continuing on a month-to-month basis.

Commissioners Comments

Near the close of the meeting, Commissioner Blumert said that she had spoken privately with the Sheriff, and wanted to make clear that she was not “publicly calling him out.” She stated that she wanted to publicly request that the Sheriff’s Office make every effort to notify the County Commissioners as soon as possible when there is a death of a person incarcerated at the County Jail.

A man named Daryl Clinton was found unresponsive in his cell on Sunday and died that evening in hospital. Commissioner Blumert said that she learned of this from a report on a local television news broadcast.

Blumert said that the Commissioners need to be kept updated about any deaths. Calvey echoed her request to be kept informed by the Sheriff.

Last Updated August 14, 2019, 4:16 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor