OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — The Board of Oklahoma County Commissioners (Board, or BoCC) held an epic two-hour plus assembly Monday whereby a number of controversial objects had been mentioned.
Throughout an Government Session that lasted over one hour, the Board mentioned doubtlessly dissolving the Oklahoma County Felony Justice Authority (Jail Belief), in addition to a possible declare in opposition to the State of Oklahoma and the Division of Juvenile Affairs for statutory cost of some prices of working the County’s Juvenile Justice Heart.
In open session, the Board mentioned a request by Sheriff Tommie Johnson III to enter a contract with a tv manufacturing firm who needs to supply a tv present in regards to the Sheriff’s Workplace apprehending “needed individuals.”
A significant step was taken within the years-long saga of the North Canadian Streambank Stabilization/Triple X Highway venture, and the County discovered about one other pending downside with the river additional north within the County.
Authorities in line with columnist Marty Peercy
Whereas the general public just isn’t aware of the conversations that occur throughout the Government Periods, the printed agenda does embody the subjects to be coated by the Board behind closed doorways. Many members of the general public have been conscious for the previous week that the BoCC had an merchandise listed to think about the dissolution of the Jail Belief.
The Belief, which has operated the Jail since July 2020, has been beneath fireplace over the course of their tenure as operators of the Oklahoma County Detention Heart (Jail) attributable to an outsized variety of deaths on the jail and, on the whole, different poor and inhumane situations.
After occasions on Saturday, March 27, that led to a Detention Officer being taken hostage by a detainee, and finally resulted within the killing of the detainee, the Belief has been beneath specific scrutiny.
The Belief held a particular assembly on Thursday, April 1, to debate the state of affairs on the Jail, and to debate deaths within the jail, in addition to to debate CEO Greg Williams’s future with the group.
At Monday’s BoCC assembly, the personal dialogue about dissolving the Jail Trus resulted in District 3 Commissioner Kevin Calvey transferring to not dissolve the Belief. District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert wearily seconded that movement, and the three Commissioners voted unanimously to not finish the Belief.
Calvey stated that his movement didn’t preclude the Board from issuing a future assertion in regards to the state of the Belief.
Throughout public remark earlier within the assembly, one resident, Sean Cummings, who stated he was in favor of dissolution, instructed that the BoCC might merely not have the authorized authority to dissolve the Belief, however that somewhat, the Belief could also be accountable to dissolve itself by a majority vote of the Trustees.
For now, the Belief will proceed beneath their indenture.
The Board took no motion on the Government Session merchandise relating to the Juvenile Heart. Nonetheless, they did vote on a number of objects associated to the Heart throughout the open session.
First, and maybe most significantly, was to approve a contract On behalf of the Oklahoma County Juvenile Bureau and the State of Oklahoma-Workplace of Juvenile Affairs for funding and operation of the Juvenile Detention Heart. That contract says that the State can pay a day by day fee of $108.63 per mattress for 50 beds on the Juvenile Heart and as much as an extra 28 beds utilized by different counties.
One other merchandise to approve an settlement with a consulting agency for the Juvenile Heart was deferred to the subsequent often scheduled assembly.
The Board authorized an settlement of companies with GSB, Inc to offer architectural and engineering for the addition of a brand new, extra sanitary foyer space within the Juvenile Justice Heart. The companies will price not more than $51,500.
Sheriff Tommie Johnson, III introduced an agenda merchandise to Monday’s assembly that has raised some controversy amongst County residents.
Johnson requested the Board to approve an entry settlement with Good Caper Content material Manufacturing, an organization that creates law-enforcement associated tv content material. The settlement would permit Good Caper personnel to go on ride-alongs with Sheriff’s deputies as they “apprehend needed individuals.”
Throughout public remark, lots of the audio system had been readily available to deal with this merchandise specifically.
A number of group members decried the concept as unethical and inhumane, saying that this type of content material would vilify folks on the margins of our group.
Two audio system, Nicole McAfee and Chad Whitehead, particularly referred to filming folks in one of many worst moments of their life, that being whereas they’re arrested. McAfee went on to say that in a scenario like that, the ability dynamics are imbalanced in order that “knowledgeable consent” can hardly be achieved. She stated that folks usually really feel unduly influenced to signal a waiver for a tv look as a result of they’re on the mercy of regulation enforcement officers they usually might concern reprisal in the event that they don’t signal.
Whitehead instructed that if the Sheriff needed extra consideration or engagement, he may merely maintain a press convention the place all members of the media are invited, or maybe maintain a city corridor together with his constituents.
Some activists stated that if the contract was authorized, they’d set up group protests to attempt to shut down this system.
Johnson claimed that he understood and “heard” the issues of the members of the general public, however that his objective for the tv present can be to extend public funding in co-creating security alongside regulation enforcement.
The Sheriff uncared for to say how filming the arrest of group members would accomplish that objective.
Calvey acknowledged that one concern from the general public was that such a program would open the County as much as legal responsibility. Calvey, an legal professional, stated that the contract included an indemnity clause and that the manufacturing firm had included an up-to-date insurance coverage certificates.
District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan stated that this form of program was not unprecedented within the County. The truth is, in line with Johnson, a earlier settlement with the identical firm had been authorized beneath one other Sheriff.
Johnson went on to say that if authorized, he would have last say on the edited model of the content material that was created and he invited the Commissioners to take part in that eventual assessment with him.
Blumert stated that she would vote no, despite the fact that she believed Johnson’s intentions had been good and respectful, however that she has an issue with filming folks whereas they’re being arrested. Johnson acknowledged her level respectfully and provided no argument.
The settlement then handed 2-1.
Triple X Highway
Three objects had been dealt with on Monday to lastly transfer ahead on the North Canadian River Streambank Stabilization/Triple X Highway venture.
The motion of the river over time has destroyed the highway, some land, and one dwelling. Maughan has been contending with this concern for years, and was celebratory of the progress.
First, the Board authorized the advice of the bottom and greatest bid for Development Administration and Inspection. Smith, Roberts, and Baldischwiler is the agency that was chosen. They’ve accomplished a lot work within the County during the last a few years.
Later, the Board authorized an merchandise to just accept a donation of a parcel of land from Timothy Dirk Smith by Stop Declare Deed. The parcel of land is successfully ineffective to Smith, and with out this venture being accomplished, he would stand to lose that parcel to the river anyway. The Board expressed gratitude for the help within the venture.
Lastly, the Board authorized an Settlement for Companies with Central Bridge Firm. The approval of that contract signifies that work will lastly have the ability to start on the venture to restore the badly broken highway and set up a brand new bridge. Maughan stated that he would gladly transfer the $2,630,013.20 merchandise, calling it “Monumental.”
Maughan’s division has been saving highway cash for a number of years with a purpose to fund this obligatory work.
After the Triple X Highway objects, the Board was handled to a warning by County Engineer Stacey Trumbo about one other space close to the North Canadian.
Trumbo stated that the river has moved fairly a bit within the space close to Wilshire and Indian Meridian. The river’s motion now creates a menace to a college within the space. With out streambank stabilization, the varsity and plenty of land will ultimately be destroyed.
The BoCC unanimously authorized a supplemental Settlement for Companies with Meshek Affiliate within the quantity of $50,000 to move off that downside.
Whereas the previous Chair of the Board, Calvey, created strict guidelines for public remark throughout his tenure, right now the brand new Chair, Maughan, took a extra beneficiant strategy.
Maughan moved the general public remark portion of the agenda to the start of the assembly, somewhat than holding it on the finish in any case votes had been solid. Moreover, he allowed folks to far surpass their allotted, some would say restrictive, one minute of talking time.
Maughan allowed numerous audio system to deal with a number of agenda objects, largely relating to the Jail Belief and the Sheriff’s proposed tv content material. He additionally allowed one particular person to talk, although they got here in after the assembly was known as to order, a transfer that Calvey wouldn’t have permitted beneath his chairmanship.
This alerts a possible return to relative normalcy for public participation in County Authorities.
The BoCC will meet once more in a particular session on Wednesday, April 7, at 9:00 a.m.
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