Sheriff looks to add secure garage to jail

EL RENO – Canadian County Sheriff Chris West says he plans to ask county commissioners next week to allow a project that would protect his officers and others as they arrive at the county jail.

He wants to build a sally port adjacent to the jail. A sally port is a large, secure garage that allows law enforcement officers to deliver prisoners and evidence to the facility safely.

West said he plans to offer a proposal next week that would allow for construction of the building, and he plans to pay for it out of dedicated funds.

Specifically, West plans to use confiscated funds obtained during traffic stops and other arrests.

“I want to get the best deal for the county. I feel a great use of drug money is to build a sally port for the county jail,” West said.

The civil forfeiture account has been a subject of controversy in the past, during which some lawmakers questioned whether they were being appropriately used, and whether law enforcement was being overly zealous in seizing funds that were confiscated during traffic stops.

West stood by the process, saying that all funds that are seized go through a court process where the owners of the money have an opportunity to testify about the money’s purpose.

He said the account currently has about $300,000 in it. A portion of those funds would be used for the sally port project.

West said because the 75-x-54-foot building would essentially be a large open garage, it is unlikely to cost too much.

“We don’t have one, and we need one,” he said.

West also said he would like to get the project moving forward.

“I would like to get the ball rolling on this and get a really good quality sally port. I believe it would be a great addition to the county,” he said.

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