Crowd debates jail expansion in Dakota County

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 9:28 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Dozens of people packed a courtroom at the Dakota County Courthouse, in Dakota City, Nebraska tonight, to weigh in on a potential multi-million dollar jail expansion.

Many who attended the public hearing appeared to be in favor of the plan, which would increase jail capacity significantly, by more than 100 beds.

If passed, the federal government would pay 85-dollars per cell, per night, regardless if those cells are filled -- or not. While many in the room voiced strong support at tonight’s meeting, not everyone is on board, including a few commissioners.

Supporters say a new jail will have to be built at some point.

“So that’s not what you’re looking at, I think. Get the rooms, get this all done, but you’ve got to address who you’ve done it to,” said Shirley Sides, an opponent of the expansion.

But for Matt Hattermann, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police chapter in Dakota County, a new jail will need to be built in the coming years whether it’s completed now or not.

“By doing this we’re just kicking the can down the road and we’re going to pay for it as taxpayers. It’s just delaying the inevitable whether it by five years, ten years, fifteen years from now it’s coming whether we like it or not,” he said.

At least three of the five commissioners have voted to delay or deny the proposal at least once. However, each commissioner said Wednesday that their minds were not made up, hence the public meeting to elicit comments.

To read more about the plan, click here.

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