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Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison reported work has begun on the Polk County Detention Center to resolve the issues that the Jail Standards Committee pointed out in 2016.

Ellison explained the Jail Standards Committee threatened to close the facility if the county did not construct a new jail or make the necessary renovations.

In 2016, the voters of Polk County decided not to build a new jail by defeating a proposed sales tax proposal that would have built a 160-bed facility. Following the vote, JPs of the Quorum County set aside $500,000 to fund renovates of the existing jail.

Ellison stated the renovation was necessary for the county to stay in compliance with the state jail standards. He said if the county did not make the improvements, the Jail Standards Committee could close the jail.

Ellison reported the county is installing a smoke/fire alarm system, outfitting a handicap cell, creating a second west wind exit, expanding the booking area by eliminating the existing kitchen area, constructing a detached kitchen and installing a camera system.

Currently, the Polk County Jail can house 26 inmates. Ellison said they hope to expand the existing jail into a 50-bed facility in the next few years.

Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer stated the project should be completed by mid-September.

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