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Woodbury County Sheriff Updates Proposed Jail Project

Siouxland Public Media

As we head into the new year, one of the local issues likely to make headlines; the debate over a new jail for Woodbury County.  

Woodbury County’s top law enforcer provided Siouxland Public Media News with an update.

Sheriff Dave Drew says the county is looking at having the public vote on a new jail next year.

 “I hope they’re understanding the difficult situation we are in that we are full and we should not let people out that should probably be out.” 

Sheriff Drew says the current jail was poorly designed and doesn’t suit today’s needs.  The facility opened in 1987 is also operating with the original HVAC system.

“They need heat and they need air.  And if that goes down it’s not an easy fix because it’s behind a lot of brick and mortar and we would have to move inmates.”

Sheriff Drew says if the air and cooling system goes down, the county could be forced to move up to 100 inmates to another facility for several months.

He says the referendum on the new jail late spring or early summer.

“Crime can happen everywhere, and we’re just hoping the difficult situation we are in and the jail is a definite need.”

Sheriff Drew says the cost is difficult for some to swallow.

“How do you get excited about raising your taxes for something you will never use?  The answer I come up with it is a way to keep our community safe.”

The estimated price tag for the project is $50-million dollars.  Several months ago, the board of supervisors hired a firm to come up with an initial design for the jail.

He also talked about other options for officers, including his thoughts on marijuana that might be different than others in law enforcement.