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Guarding against COVID-19: Jail to provide masks for prisoners; daily temperature checks continue

Kim Morava

Precautionary measures against the coronavirus continue at the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center, where prisoners and staff are having daily temperature checks and every prisoner is being issued handmade sewn masks to wear in the facility.

Jail Director Breonna R. Thompson said precautions are in place for inmates and 53 employees at the facility, which is located at U.S. 177 and Acme Road in Shawnee.

She said temperature checks are conducted daily on every inmate and all staffers also are checked prior to each shift assignment. Those efforts have been ongoing for several weeks now.

“We are also in the process of purchasing handmade sewn masks,” she said. “These reusable, washable masks will be issued to every inmate.”

“We are also asking that if anyone in the community would like to donate hand sanitizer or masks, it would be greatly appreciated,” she added.

And while the jail normally has about 280 prisoners on an average day, the jail inmate count, including prisoners being brought in from new arrests, is down significantly, she said.

“My hope is this means that our community is taking heed of this pandemic and is staying home and staying safe,” she added.

While proactive efforts continue to keep the virus out of the facility, Thompson said she does have personal protective equipment ready for her staff’s response should it be needed.

And while many jobs have been impacted in the era of COVID-19, the jail facility is considered an essential entity, Thompson said, and as such, they are hiring jailers, with pay starting at $12 up to $16 an hour.

“We have a job to keep our community safe,” she said. “With everyone being laid off and these uncertain times, we want anyone that has lost their job to this pandemic to consider applying here.”

Administration offices and areas are manned but closed to the public, she said, but applications may be picked up in the front vestibule, where signs are posted that limit public access to the facility.

Contact the facility for additional information at 405-273-0043 or check out its Facebook page.