Sheriff makes strong case

Published 12:57 am Friday, June 21, 2013

It hasn’t been easy for Beaufort County Sheriff Alan Jordan, his deputies and jail staff in recent days.


They’ve had to deal with two power outages and the Beaufort County Courthouse, which houses the Beaufort County Detention Center in its basement. They had to evacuate inmates after the second power outage resulted in smoke caused by a faulty dryer and electrical wiring entered the jail. They’ve had to deal with transporting those inmates from other detention centers to the Beaufort County Courthouse for court sessions and back to the other detention centers.


Agree or disagree with Jordan’s running of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office or his politics, Beaufort County residents can take pride in the fact that throughout this situation Jordan’s top priority has been the safety of his deputies, jail staff and, yes, the inmates.


“I prefer to know that jail’s safe. I think the judge prefers — I don’t even intend to try to speak for him — but I’m sure that he and everyone else involved prefers that we have a safe jail,” Jordan said.


And it’s no secret that Jordan, who will not be seeking re-election next year, continues to push for a new jail. To Jordan, the problems at the jail that led to the inmates’ evacuation are evidence the 40-year old jail needs to be replaced. He discussed his concerns in an interview following the Board of Commissioners’ meeting earlier this week where the courthouse/jail problems were reviewed.


Jordan said he was glad to hear board Chairman Jerry Langley — during that meeting — say the jail process is moving forward.


“That’s gratifying. I believe Chairman Langley because Jerry Langley has been a strong proponent for a new jail. However, that doesn’t alleviate that fact that there was no money appropriate in this budget for the continuation of the jail study and planning,” Jordan said.


A point for Jordan.


The sheriff noted that the county manager said in the budget message that the county would consider adding money to continue the jail study at some point during the new budget year, which begins July 1.


“That’s unusual. It begs the question: why? If you’re serious about this process as a group of commissioners, why not put the money in the budget at the outset?” Jordan said.


Another point for Jordan.


“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been putting a lot of Band-Aids on a gaping wounds at the Beaufort County jail,” he said. “I still feel it’s incumbent on me and my folks about the condition of that jail. You can say there’s progress. You can show us progress. We ask that you show us progress.”


The sheriff said a lot in the brief interview. Hopefully, the right people will get to hear what he said.