The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 7, 2014

Open houses, tours mark sheriff’s relocation, jail work

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Jasper County sheriff’s officials showed off an office building and upgrades at the county jail in open houses Tuesday.

The events marked the “official” completion of projects to renovate portions of a county-owned building on the square as administrative offices for the Sheriff’s Department, and work that upgraded electrical and security systems at the jail.

Sheriff Randee Kaiser joined representatives of the Carthage Chamber of Commerce for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting before inviting those on hand to take a look at the new office space. The open house attracted a large crowd of local residents, and representatives of cities and law enforcement agencies from the region.

Kaiser noted that the goal of the project was to bring administrative offices of the department back to Carthage from rented space near Duenweg. Officers moved in early December after crews with R.E. Smith Construction Co. completed work on the $500,000 renovation.

“We have about 150 workers, with about half here and half at the jail,” Kaiser said. “Now, we’re right across the street from the courthouse and just blocks away from the jail. It’s going to be a lot more efficient.”

Most of the space in the county-owned building, once a bank, is now occupied by the sheriff’s office. The county collector, treasurer and public administrator for several years have had space on the top floor.

In addition to offices for administrators, and the patrol and detective divisions, the building includes a large training room and another room that can be used as an emergency operations center. Kaiser has said he’ll make the space available for other law enforcement needs. Greg Dagnan, Carthage police chief, said his department used the training room for a debriefing after a recent murder investigation in Carthage that involved the Tri-State Major Case Squad.

Chief Deputy Tim Wilson said the training space also will be used for officers to maintain their required state certifications.

“We have five people on staff that can do training, so we’ll do it here,” he said.

While visitors wandered around offices during the open house, tours at the jail were guided by deputies.

Work on the jail started in May 2012, under an $828,000 contract with Cornerstone Detention Services.

The work focused on upgrading electrical, monitoring and security systems, including correcting deficiencies that had allowed some jail cells to be opened by inmates.

The upgrade streamlines communications, electrical controls, door operations, and monitoring of jail cells and other parts of the building. On Tuesday morning, Deputy Markus Chamberlin was in a tower and was monitoring activities with a system that displays 36 views simultaneously.

“It monitors everything, and we can focus in on any area we want,” he said. “It’s a lot easier for us, and it makes it safer for the inmates, and us.”

The sheriff’s office relocation also involves the construction of a vehicle maintenance building in north Carthage on property owned by the Jasper County Highway Department. Kaiser said that work is close to being finished. The building is to cost nearly $220,500.

Funding sources

FUNDING FOR THE CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS has come from the county’s law enforcement sales tax fund, along with $322,500 in borrowed money and about $643,000 from reserve funds the County Commission set aside several years ago after selling some property in south Carthage. Borrowed and reserve funds are to be repaid by the law enforcement sales tax fund over a four-year period.

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