OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. – The ongoing feud between the Oklahoma County sheriff and an Oklahoma County commissioner heats up.
A chaotic scene played out for hours between Oklahoma County Sheriff P.D. Taylor and County Commissioner Kevin Calvey during a meeting to talk about a possible jail trust.
Money and safety inside the jail were at the center of the fight.
“We’re looking at changing county government and we want to vote on it in a week,” said Sheriff P.D. Taylor.
A packed Oklahoma County Commissioners meeting, full of employees from the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, erupted with clapping following a passionate speech from Sheriff P.D. Taylor.
“It’s all about the money and lack there of,” said Sheriff Taylor. “That’s why we’re in this mess and it’s unfortunate that someone took the position about four months ago that just bad mouths, and slings BS and points fingers instead of running for office and coming together, working together to solve this problem.”
While addressing a long list of problems at the county jail, Sheriff Taylor blamed a lack of funding.
He released video exclusively to News 4 last month showing inmates busting out of their cell and brutally beating detention officers; one of a number of issues at the jail.
“I’ve identified money to buy $1,090,000 in locks for the safety of my employees and inmates, and Kevin Calvey has delayed that for two months,” said Sheriff Taylor.
“They’re getting a lot of money that they are not spending appropriately,” said Commissioner Kevin Calvey, District 3.
The finger-pointing heated up as the meeting continued on Wednesday.
“It’s just shock factor,” said Sheriff Taylor. “He’s running for U.S. Congress in two years. He’ll lie about it and say he’s not, but he’s trying to make a big splash.”
Commissioner Calvey once again denied that allegation.
“I’ve said so on Facebook like over a month ago, I think,” said Calvey. “I’ve made it very clear.”
Something else he’s made very clear, he feels there needs to be more oversight and accountability at the jail. Which is why commissioners are discussing a jail trust, which was proposed by Commissioner Brian Maughn two years ago.
The trust would either bring an outside private company to run the jail, appoint a jail administrator or leave things in the sheriff’s hands.
Sheriff’s office employees spoke out in opposition of the plan.
“Anybody that you bring in independently is going to have profit in mind,” one employee said. “Obviously, none of us here have profit in mind.”
“We keep referring to, to some degree, there’s some security with our jobs,” said another employee. “That concerns me. They don’t have a job. They have a career.”
There are still concerns about how the trust would work, which is why employees want the commissioners to spend more time discussing the matter before voting.
However, Calvey said he wanted it done within a week.
“I’ll make a motion that we refer this to the Oklahoma County Jail Advisory Committee for the further study on or before May 8th,” said Carrie Blumert, District 1. “That’s two weeks.”
“Okay, I’ll second,” said Commissioner Brian Maughn. “Well, I’ll call for discussion first, since I’m the chair.”
“I don’t understand the rush,” said Blumert. “One week, two weeks, three weeks.”
“It’s been 24 years,” said Calvey.
“But all of these people here have many, many questions that we as a county need to work through, today is a start,” said Blumert. “I’m very pleased with what has gone on today. I do not understand why we need to vote in one week. I will not be here and I would prefer that if we’re voting on a document this large, all three commissioners need to be here.”
And more drama after the meeting with Sheriff Taylor and Calvey sticking to their guns, each claiming the other is causing more harm than good.
“Kevin Calvey is a dangerous person,” said Sheriff Taylor. “He does not know what he’s talking about. And he doesn’t listen to anybody that does.”
“I think that’s just a desperate comment from somebody who is trying to deflect attention away from the facts, which are the beatings that go on in that jail,” said Calvey.
“I’m not running for office,” said Sheriff Taylor. “I’m not padding my resume. I’m not trying to do anything. I’m just trying to be the sheriff and make a difference. Mr. Calvey took office to point fingers.”
The proposed trust will be submitted to the jail advisory committee for further review by May.
Commissioner Brian Maughn says he expects a final vote sometime in June.