Jail committee members toured Marion County Jail, dispatch, and sheriff’s office for 90 minutes Thursday at their first meeting.
Marion County Sheriff Rob Craft said the meeting was a productive first meeting.
“I’m pleased with the enthusiasm and commitment from everyone there,” Craft said.
Marion County Commission Chairman Dan Holub said the tour would give them a better idea of the county’s current situation.
The county must maintain a jail, even if it sends long-term inmates to other facilities. Kansas law requires cells for holding suspects after arrests, Holub said.
Commissioners want a proposal from the jail committee sometime in spring of 2010. That would give the county time to have a proposal on the November 2010 ballot.
Voter turnout is best during presidential elections, but the issue cannot wait until 2012, Holub said. Off-year congressional elections are the next best option.
A jail isn’t the only concern of the committee, Holub said. A proposal also could replace the antiquated dispatch and sheriff’s offices. Marion County will share its research from the previous jail proposal if the committee asks for it. Committee members met from 7-11 p.m. Holub said. They determined once a month wouldn’t be often enough to meet the 2010 goal, so they decided to try meeting twice per month.
Committee members were selected from about 30 volunteers. Commissioners tried to get a group who was geographically and professionally diverse.