WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Wichita County Sheriff’s Office is counting down the days until it moves into the new law enforcement center.
The facility, on Production Boulevard, is nearly done with the WCSO expected to move in Sept. 21.
With new features like a full infirmary and direct supervision in jail pods, the center will be ready for inmates and jail staff at the beginning of 2021.
“When I started in 2005, they were like here’s some plans for the new facility and 15 years later to be this close to it,” Wichita County Jail Administrator Lisa Patterson said. “You know every time I walk in I get excited, it’s been such a long time coming and it’s been something that we’ve needed for so long.”
Wichita County Commissioner Mark Beauchamp said local law enforcement is most excited for the massive sally port, which is used to bring in new bookings.
Other features include a specific unit for K9 deputies so they don’t have to stay in a running vehicle when the deputy is working on paperwork.
“A lot of our facility downtown and at Sprague is just out of date and maintenance is a nightmare on it, the facility downtown, part of it was built in the ’60s and part of it was built in the ’80s, the technology is ’60s and ’80s,” Beauchamp said. “There’s no replacement parts, we have to manufacture stuff, the Sprague building was a warehouse and it’s a human warehouse now.”
The jail will also offer video and face-to-face visitations.
One big difference between the old jail and the jail annex compared to the new law enforcement center is the number of inmates that can be held in booking before going into general population.
The old jail can only hold 23 inmates for 14 hours while the new one can hold more than 70 for 72 hours, allowing them to bond out before even being booked into general population.
The interrogation room walls have five layers for soundproofing.
Beauchamp said only three people will have access to the evidence room and Sheriff David Duke is not one of them.
Any evidence will be stored for the lifetime of all persons involved.