Churchill County Gets New Law Enforcement & Detention Center - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Churchill County Gets New Law Enforcement & Detention Center

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Churchill County opened its current jail in 1973, but a lot has changed since then.  That is why a new facility is opening to take its place.

"It has served us well but it is past its time," Pete Olsen, Chairman of the Churchill County Commission said.

Fallon has grown in the last 44 years, and so has the need for more capacity.  The 39,000 square-foot facility increases the number of beds from 52 to 120.  Some of that space is needed for women, who make up about 30 percent of Churchill County's inmates.  Sheriff Ben Trotter says the current jail only has eight beds for women, so some have to sleep on mattresses on the floor.

"We have grown, and our facility didn't, and it was not designed to grow," Trotter said. "Whereas this one has 120 beds and we can add 24 in the future."

"We have been running the current jail full for quite a few years and beyond full at times, and this will give us the capacity that we need for today and to grow," Olsen said.

The jail has six housing pods, allowing staff to separate violent inmates from nonviolent ones, or to separate people who do not get along with each other.  Staff has the latest technology and can control things like water, length of showers, number of toilet flushes, temperature and automatic doors.

"All the doors are electronic," Trotter said. "They also can manually do them with a key but it's going to be nice for my guys not to be walking around with a ring of big keys on their hip."

The jail includes medical cells, a booking and intake area, an inmate-operated laundry room, and visitation spaces.  Officials say the upgrades are important for space and safety.

It increases the security both for the employees, but also it increases the security for the inmates, and it's a much better facility as far as accommodation," Eleanor Lockwood, Churchill County Manager said.

The building also is the home of a new 911/dispatch center, detention staff administrative space, public entry and a reception desk, as well as video visitation. The dispatch center has updated 911 software and computer systems.

"We have updated, upgraded all new consoles for the dispatch," Olsen said. "There's ability for growth as well. All of these things are huge impacts and benefits to the community."

"My staff is definitely excited to be working in a modern facility that hopefully allows them to be safer and the inmates safer too," Trotter said.

Churchill County paid about $2.3 million of the building costs.  The rest is paid by a $15 million loan through the USDA's Community Facilities program.  It will be paid for over the next 32 years, with the possibility of paying it back early.

"People that live here today and people that are going to live here in the future are going to help pay for this facility, rather than putting it all on the people that live here today," Olsen said.

The new facility is across the intersection from the current jail. Inmates will move to the new building within the next week or two.

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