The Board of Pottawatomie County Commissioners on Monday unanimously approved a contact that will change management services for Carter Hall Juvenile Detention Center.
County Clerk Raeshel Flewallen said Commissioner Melissa Dennis made the initial motion to approve the contract with Community Works, with a second made by Commissioner Randy Thomas. They and Commissioner Eddie Stackhouse voted in favor of the contract.
The change moves daily management of the county’s 14-bed juvenile detention center at U.S. 177 and Acme Road from the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Trust, which also runs the adult jail, to Community Works, an agency based in Norman that specializes in child services.
Flewallen, who said there was no discussion on the issue, said there were brief comments about when to start the transition phase, which is expected June 1.
Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth has been concerned about the proposal as it will result in his office taking over transports of juveniles by state statutes, which he said would force him to pull deputies off patrols to make those transports unless he can add additional transport staff. For years, Carter Hall employees working for the jail trust have handled the transporting of juveniles.
With the approval of the contract and new duties soon heading his way, Booth said meetings are now being scheduled as part of the transition phase, although he’s already talked with the director of Community Works.
“They assured me they have some progressive ideas on how we can work together to alleviate some of my concerns,” Booth said.
One of Booth’s ideas that he plans to discuss with them is possibly implementing a video court system for juveniles, which could help cut down some of the transport trips back and forth to court, he said. But even if that works, Booth still feels his office will need to request funds from county commissioners for additional manpower for other types of juvenile transports. At this point, he said he hopes all parties can work together.
“I believe they are taking my concerns seriously,” Booth said, adding they are all looking at the best solutions to make it all work properly. “We just need to focus on what we can do.”
Phone messages seeking comment about the approved contract from a representaive of Community Works, as well as from all three county commissioners, were not returned by press deadlines Monday night.