Cooler days ahead for inmates

County commissioners ‘show mercy’, approve new A/C unit for jail

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By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer

EL RENO – The heat has been on some Canadian County inmates – recently more than usual.

Partly because of it, Canadian County Commissioners “showed mercy” on Monday by approving the emergency purchase of a new air conditioner at the county jail during this period of scorching heat.

Residents of Canadian County’s detention center, 304 E Evans, are breathing a sigh of relief after action taken Monday morning at the commissioners’ weekly meeting.

The three-member board approved spending $16,928.70 to replace an air conditioner inside the jail.

“It’s definitely an emergency situation, with the heat we’ve been having and (prisoners) being locked in there,” District 3 County Commissioner Jack Stewart said.

County personnel last weekend had to bring in large fans to circulate air after the air conditioning faltered. High 90s and triple-digit temperatures are becoming commonplace this summer.

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Ezell’s Refrigeration, an El Reno heating and air conditioning company, has been hired to replace the jail’s A/C unit.

Ezell’s submitted the only quote for the work, although county maintenance supervisor Chris Jackson tried to obtain quotes from other vendors.

“This is a time-sensitive issue,” District 2 Commissioner David Anderson said.

“We made the attempt to get other quotes to award the lowest and best.”

In other business at Monday morning’s meeting, Canadian County Commissioners approved:
• An agreement between the Canadian County Sheriff’s Department and Piedmont Public Schools for two full-time deputies to provide protection services at Piedmont school sites for 174 days during the 2020-21 school year.
• Contracts between the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center and 19 counties to provide secure juvenile detention services for FY21. This helps Canadian County cover the cost of housing juveniles in the sales tax-funded facility, commissioners Anderson and Stewart emphasized.
• A contract between Canadian County Commissioners and SWH Construction LLC for roadway grinding in District 3. Commissioners recently awarded a $35,000 low bid to the company for a 7.8-mile road grinding project on various roads.

Canadian County Commission Chairman Marc Hader reported there were 140 inmates in custody, including 136 in the county jail and four “out on writ.” Eight prisoners await state Department of Corrections’ transport.