Closed wing at County Jail reopens

Sean C. Morgan

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office has reopened a 48-bed block at Linn County Jail that had been closed in 2012 as part of budget cuts.

Linn County voters passed a law enforcement levy in May 2014 that provided the funding to reopen the block. The levy provided funding for enough corrections deputies to staff the block.

The jail has a capacity of 230 inmates. It opened in 1989.

Sheriff Bruce Riley does not expect the wing to fill up overnight, he said. His office will be working with the District Attorney’s Office, judges and local police departments to manage jail bed space.

“Adequate jail space is a key component to an effective, county wide criminal justice system and serves as a deterrent to crime,” Riley said.

The move provides the Municipal Court with options to hold people who habitually fail to appear until the judge can see them if bed space is available, said Sweet Home Police Chief Jeff Lynn. With no space available, Sweet Home police have had to issue citations to appear. This should help alleviate that.

“It’s always good to have additional bed space over at the jail,” he said.

In general, suspects arrested for most misdemeanors are cited and released after booking at the Police Department, he said. Bed space is generally reserved for felonies and domestic violence charges.

Riley credited voters and his staff for making it happen.

“I would like to thank the Citizens of Linn County for their continued support of law enforcement,” Riley said. “It is a privilege to serve as sheriff of a county that places a high priority on law enforcement services.”

He also complimented his staff for a job well done.

“It has not been an easy task to get deputies tested, interviewed and hired,” he said. “It’s an arduous task, and my staff has done an amazing job. I believe we have hired a great group of deputies who are committed to providing quality law enforcement services.”