Fox 4 tours Miami County’s new, safer $18 million jail, sheriff’s office

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PAOLA, Kan. -- The Miami County Sheriff's Office cut the ribbon on its brand new $18 million facility on Friday.

More than 200 people lined up to see firsthand where their tax dollars helped build including Bruce Jenkins.

"It’s a nice facility," Jenkins said. "The pods, how many prisoners they can hold now and how much nicer a facility this is than the old cell."

The seed for this facility was planted back in 2005 and one that took more than a decade to blossom.

"One of the first steps was to tour the old jail, and once they did that and saw the infrastructure that was just crumbling, and they immediately knew they needed a new building for their Miami County employees and inmates that they house," Undersheriff Wayne Minckley said.

Minckley said the initial bid of $19-million made back in 2005 was quickly shut down but a combination of more inmates and limited space ultimately had to be addressed.

"Then in 2011 and 2012 it got revised because of the numbers we were seeing. We were farming inmates out to four other jails and we knew we had to do something," Minckley said.

This 44,000 square foot, 96 bed facility was built not only to improve conditions for deputies but also add to the workforce.

"When they see a facility like this they are safer, secure, the inmates have better availability, they have more room, and I think we’re going to retain employees due to this building as well," Minckley said.

Although the doors won't officially be open until early 2018, it's a project that both the community and deputies are happy with.

"[It's] safer, and it’s a good use of my tax dollars," Jenkins said.

"The old facility lasted, it’s still up and running but, 50 years. If this facility takes us 50 years into the future, before we need to add on or annex, this is a huge step for the future generations of law enforcement in Miami County," Minckley said.

The jail will be open for tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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