Oklahoma County sheriff open to law enforcement operations relocation extension

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - The Oklahoma County sheriff said he is willing to give a 106-day extension for law enforcement operations to relocate from the jail after previously setting a Jan. 1 deadline to move out and turn operations over to the Jail Trust.

On Tuesday morning, Sheriff P.D. Taylor said he is willing to give a 106-day extension for law enforcement operations to relocate from the jail with a concluding date of April 15, 2020.

Additionally, Sheriff Taylor will request that the Oklahoma County Budget Board immediately approve pay raises for all full-time jail personnel to address the current dangerous trend of detention employees leaving the jail.

Salary raise options Sheriff Taylor will offer the budget board for consideration are $5000, $4000 and $3000 in annual raises.

“A significant raise will help us recruit new employees, retain current employees and possibly recoup former employees who have left,” Taylor said.

This announcement comes after the Sheriff set an initial transition date of Jan. 1, 2020, to turn over operations of the jail to the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority, known as the Jail Trust.

“I said I’d be out of here by Jan. 1, but I’m a reasonable man,” Taylor said. “By April 15, that’s 11 months from the time the Trust was signed, sealed and voted on and approved.”

So Taylor is hoping by then, the trust will be ready to take over jail operations.

“The district attorney, the county and the trust is simply not ready and will they ever be ready,” Taylor said.

Jail trustee and county commissioner Kevin Calvey told News 4 things are moving in the right direction since they selected a jail administrator a few weeks ago.

“The budget board did vote to provide the funding for the administration for the Trust,” Calvey said.

However, when it comes to the sheriff’s first, and now new move-out deadline, Calvey claims that’s not the sheriff’s call.

“The state law and our very Trust document itself indicate that the sheriff continues to operate the jail until such time as the trust is ready,” Calvey said.

Calvey is talking about the Trust Indenture, which reads, “Upon establishment and adoption of this Trust Indenture, the Sheriff shall continue to operate the Jail Facilities until such time as the Authority and then Beneficiary shall enter into a lease agreement and/or funding agreement(s) that specifically provides for the Authority to commence responsibly for management and operation of the jail facilities in any of the lawful manners described herein.”

"This is the first time I’ve ever seen it,” Taylor said when News 4 showed him the document. “In my opinion, Mr. Calvey is wrong about 98 percent of things he says.”

Taylor pointed to what representatives with the DA’s office said during an October commissioners meeting.

“So the sheriff, he can just walk away from the jail,” Calvey asked ADA Aaron Etherington.

“I believe he can, yes,” She said.

“Interesting,” Calvey replied.

Calvey told News 4 on Tuesday he disagrees with the District Attorneys Office on that.

“Mr. Calvey has criticized me so much that I had to come up with a special saying just for Mr. Calvey. A wise man once told me if you’re being criticized by someone that you would never seek advice from, then don’t worry about it,” Taylor said.

Jail Trust chairwoman Tricia Everest sent News 4 this statement following the sheriff’s announcement on Tuesday: “We look forward to working with OCSO and the county as we continue to tackle the many issues necessary for as smooth a transition as possible. The sheriff effectively expedited the process and I am optimistic we will see the transition, if not in April, before the end of the fiscal year.”

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