Antelope Co. hoping for votes to jumpstart new jail plans - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Antelope County hoping for votes to jumpstart new jail plans

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Whenever Antelope County Sheriff Robert Moore takes these stairs, he's extra cautious. Whenever Antelope County Sheriff Robert Moore takes these stairs, he's extra cautious.
NELIGH, Neb. (KTIV) -

Whenever Antelope County Sheriff Robert Moore takes these stairs, he's extra cautious.

"We had a deputy fall down the stairs and compound-fractured his leg," Robert Moore, Antelope County Sheriff said.

In the basement, it's even more crowded. Leroy Kirkman remembers his initial visit well.

"First time I was ever down here I was shocked," Leroy Kirkman, president of the Antelope County Board of Supervisors said. 

Emergency call center equipment is down there too. It's on the back side of cell number 5. Fire marshals have told Moore the building needs to add sprinklers. But he says that could be difficult to pull off.

"It's pretty hard to run water lines through 16 inches of cement," Moore said.

This building used to be a sheriff's home.  But over time, that's changed. Now, there are several multipurpose rooms and the jail. Moore says some little changes could make the biggest difference with a new facility.

"Where you see the interview and the booking and all that shoved into one, they'll probably be broke apart," Moore said.

County officials say one of the biggest issues they have with the current set up is right here in the dispatch center. They say it's one of vulnerability because prisoners will go back and forth through this hallway a lot and they're not always cooperative.

"She didn't sign up to fight prisoners coming through," Moore said. "And sometimes, if things break loose in that center, we'll wind up right in the middle of her area."

Initial estimates say the new building could cost about $6.9 million.

"When you gotta live with jail standards and so forth, you've got to put things in there that the general public does not think we need," Kirkman said.

Most of which would come from property tax increases, about 3 cents for every $100 of taxable value. Antelope County will vote on whether the money comes out of the county operating budget. If it does, officials say that means less money for other needs.

"We can't continue to go down this road because it's been a blessing that something hasn't gone wrong," Moore said.

And Moore says the sooner changes happen, the better.

The new jail would be built off of Old Highway 14 in Neligh. Officials say ground could be broken as soon as next year.

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