Oklahoma County Sheriff P.D. Taylor may have thought his move out of the Jail would be a straight path, but a proposed transition committee could make it more complicated.
Friday Taylor requested that county commissioners give him the use of an unoccupied county building on the east side of the city to consolidate all of his operations.
But, rather than making the official request to the Public Building Advisory Council as Taylor anticipated in the memo, County Commissioners may have other ideas about how to handle the move.
An agenda item for the Board of County Commissioners Wednesday calls for the formation of a new committee, The Oklahoma County Detention Center Transition Committee, an idea conceived by the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office.
If the item passes, the committee would be made up of six members, one being appointed by the Sheriff’s Office, the County Clerk, the County Treasurer, and each of the County Commissioners.
The agenda item shows the many different interests the Sheriff will be facing within county government to execute the move.
“The mission of the Committee will be to identify all necessary actions to be taken on behalf of these County Offices and make recommendations to other public bodies and committees of the County in order to effectively and efficiently manage the transition of operational control from the Sheriff to the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Authority.”
Request for move
Taylor’s Friday request was a follow-up to a surprise news conference Thursday when Taylor announced that he wants the Jail Trust to have their new Jail administrator in place and ready to take over control of the Jail by 12:01 a.m. Jan 1.
Taylor sent a letter to the county commissioners Friday with his proposal to move to the Krowse Building, a building at NE 36th and Martin Luther King Avenue owned by Oklahoma County.
The empty building was originally the Krowse Army Reserve Center. Then it was the temporary home of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation during the rebuild of their permanent offices on Lincoln Boulevard south of the Capitol.
In his request, he described the building as “desirable” and “suitable” for use as his new headquarters.
He proposed closing the Spencer sub-station and consolidating all of his operations in the Krowse building.
The building is far bigger than the Sheriff’s office would need even after consolidating all of its operations.
Taylor proposed that the extra space could be used by the rest of the county “should an emergency or disaster befall Oklahoma County.”
“There will be sufficient operational space to satisfy the needs of the Board of County Commissioners, County Clerk, MIS, the Civil Division of the District Attorney’s Office, Court Clerk, and Emergency Management during any such crisis period,” Taylor wrote.
At the news conference Thursday, Free Press asked Taylor how much the move would cost.
“It won’t cost anything,” said Taylor.
But, a county government official that agreed to speak on background raised questions about the “no-cost” estimate of the Sheriff.
According to the county official, the Krowse Building has been empty for a year.
Communications and IT infrastructure would have to be moved as well as reconfiguring the building to meet the Sheriff’s needs, especially consolidating a satellite station and purchasing new equipment currently installed at the Jail that operations there will still need.
As well new staff positions for the separate headquarters will have to be new funding for the splitting of dual-role positions at the Jail.
The official also raised the issue of the lost income to the county in circumstances like the occupation of the building by the Department of Wildlife Conservation recently where the county made millions in lease payments from the tenant.
That official said that the county would likely not charge the Sheriff’s office for use of a county building, but the loss of income from having the building tied up for a long-term, permanent use would deprive the county of a way to make money from the building that could help projects in other parts of the county.
Sustain our journalism by becoming a supporter
Oklahoma City Free Press is dedicated to providing high quality journalism that positively impacts our community. Click this link or the red button below to support our mission.