Jail’s busy weekend results in cleaner county
|From the left, Logan County Jail inmates Jakob Ford, William Neeley and Dallas McKinley rake mulch around a tree this week at the Logan County Sheriff’s Office and Jail complex, 284 S. County Road 32, Bellefontaine, continuing the outdoor community work that was started during the jail’s weekend blitz with an influx of inmates. (PHOTO | LOGAN COUNTY JAIL STAFF)
Nearly 40 low-level offenders waiting to serve time at the Logan County Jail were recommitted last week as part of an organized “weekend blitz,” which also resulted in a cleaner Logan County through a variety of community projects completed with this influx of inmates.
Logan County Jail Administrator Lt. Greg Fitzpatrick reported this week that planning for the blitz to re-commit Bellefontaine Municipal Court offenders began in February. Assistant Jail Administrator Sgt. Adam Fullerton came up with the idea as a way to tackle the backlog of individuals waiting to serve time at the jail.
“I cannot say enough about Sgt. Fullerton and the everyday effort he puts out to run this facility,” Lt. Fitzpatrick said. “He solicited help from different members of our corrections staff to help set everything up. He communicated with municipal court staff to ensure we were all on the same page.”
While the Logan County Jail complex at 284 S. County Road 32 has 140 inmate beds, the current jail staff during a typical week can only safely manage about 70-80 inmates at a time, Lt. Fitzpatrick explained. So if the jail is at this capacity, these low-level municipal court offenders sometimes are recommitted to come back later to serve their time.
A second reason for recommitment is when an individual has a medical condition that can be difficult for the corrections staff and medical staff to manage, the jail administrator related.
During March continuing the planning stage, Sgt. Fullerton and Cpl. Chris Joseph sorted through this backlog of individuals, and selected 54 people who were viable candidates to participate in the scheduled recommitment.
Then when the blitz weekend arrived, corrections staff began booking individuals into the jail the evening of Thursday, May 5, and throughout the day Friday, May 6. Each participant was issued a particular time slot, 30 minutes apart, to give the on-duty staff time to receive, book, process and place an inmate into their assigned cell before the next would appear, Lt. Fitzpatrick explained.
Twelve of the scheduled individuals failed to show up and were sent back to municipal court for disposition from the court, and three individuals were recommitted again for medical concerns, officials said. So a total of 39 individuals were placed in the jail to serve time, most of them for three-day commitments, except one inmate, for a total of 17 days.
With this large jail population — at a peak of 126 during the blitz — the jail administrator said five auxiliary deputies and several other agencies stepped up to offer supervision of inmates for cleanup projects in the community.
“We felt the high number of inmates would be more manageable if we worked several of them off property as much as we could,” he said.
Community cleanup spots involved the following agencies and locations:
• Municipal court staff supervised a crew that cleaned the Logan County Fairground, along with 10 of the Logan County Solid Waste Management District recycling drop sites in the county.
• Bellefontaine Code Enforcement Officer Wes Dodds assisted with transporting inmates to code enforcement problems in the city, where the crew hauled away unsightly trash.
• Deputies directed a group of inmates for roadside cleanup along 20 miles of state, county and township roads and city streets.
• Corrections staff supervised inmates weeding the landscaping and mulching at the Logan County Sheriff’s Office and Jail complex.
Auxiliary deputies donated nearly 60 hours of time for the effort, and those individuals who volunteered wanted to remain anonymous, Lt. Fitzpatrick said. LCSO administrative staff also donated 24 hours of time, and the jail’s kitchen staff was kept busy with extra meals that were needed.
With the efforts of the participating county agencies, the weekend blitz went smoothly and produced positive results, the jail administrator said.
“Thanks to Sgt. Fullerton’s planning and the many people who helped out, it was a success. We were able to get a lot of work done in the community.
“There are 40-some individuals currently waiting to be recommitted to the jail, and if that number continues to rise, we’ll likely do this again.”