OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma County Detention Center maintenance worker contacted KFOR with concerns about what he calls unsafe working conditions.
“We had a guy that got fired for voicing his opinion that our bosses were breaking policy by sending us into pods that are just filled with inmates and no detention officers in there to watch out for us,” an Oklahoma County Jail maintenance worker told News 4.
That’s one reason why the worker contacted News 4, wanting to speak up about what he says are unsafe working conditions at the jail.
“It’s crazy because he really cared about the place. That was like his biggest issue and they just let him go,” he said.
He wants to remain anonymous, fearing he too could lose his job.
“They have us go pull an inmate every morning. None of us are CLEET certified. We’re not supposed to be pulling the inmates,” the worker said.
He told News 4 when they’re fully staffed, the jail has 10 maintenance workers for each shift. However, right now, they only have eight workers total.
“I keep a tool on me just in case anybody comes out of the blue, and I mean, y’all saw the video, I’m sure, of that guy getting taken hostage. It can happen in a second,” he said.
Not too long after that deadly hostage situation back in March, the jail lost its’ certification to house juveniles.
Back in September, a judge granted Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater’s request for a grand jury investigation at the jail. Prater told KFOR in a statement that the culture at the jail since the jail trust took over operations back in July of 2020 “has resulted in more deaths and maltreatment of inmates than I have ever seen.”
“If you ask anybody that works there, they want the [Oklahoma County] Sheriff’s Department back,” the maintenance worker said.
Officials at the jail sent News 4 the following statement:
“As the Jail Trust and the staff work diligently and quickly to improve conditions, leadership has found it necessary to make changes in operations, procedures and personnel. In many cases, staff are consulted and their opinions are given great weight. For example, 12-hour shifts were recently incorporated in the maintenance department for employees who wish to volunteer and receive overtime. As with any organizational change, some employees preferred the old system. However, administrators remain focused on taking the steps necessary to improve safety for all people in custody and the staff of our facility.”GREG WILLIAMS, JAIL TRUST CEO
“I do my hardest work every single day and they treat us like crap, especially the guys that were there before the trust showed up,” the worker said.