Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Safety Fears Prompt Jail Project

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Safety Fears Prompt Jail Project

Article excerpt

The Shawnee County Jail's sally port doors have failed to work numerous times, causing safety concerns by forcing law enforcement officers to park outside and escort prisoners -- some of whom are violent -- inside, county corrections director Brian Cole said Thursday.

Cole has asked the county commission to install new doors.

Commissioners Bob Archer, Kevin Cook and Shelly Buhler responded by voting 3-0 to authorize the spending of $87,160 from the county's detention budget to enter into a contract with Dorma Door Controls to install the new entrance and exit doors and remodel the area where they stand, plus $8,716 to buy a five-year warranty.

"I think it's a good idea to have the warranty, given the wear and tear you're going to have," Cook said.

The jail books in about 10,000 inmates a year, meaning its sally port doors -- which open and close by being lifted and lowered -- do that roughly 10,000 times, Cole told commissioners.

The commission had voted in August to authorize the corrections department to seek bids for the project. Cole said Dorma submitted the most responsive bid in terms of both qualifications and cost.

Cole told commissioners in a memorandum last week that the project would increase the height of one door by 12 inches, enhancing security by providing access to the sally port for larger transportation vehicles, including the Kansas Department of Corrections transport bus.

"Second, it will alleviate the largest maintenance issue that the current doors have, deterioration of the springs during the lifting and lowering of the current doors," he said. "If approved, the contract will ensure routine inspections of the door equipment, which should reduce downtime, costly emergency repairs and increase the life of the equipment."

Commissioners also voted 3-0 to award a contract to ACT Global Americas Inc. to replace the artificial turf at Bettis Family Sports Complex's Jerry Robertson Field at a cost of $200,314, while allowing for the potential of other expenses totaling as much as $18,000.

The commission had deferred action on the matter last week after Archer noted that part of the proposed contract called for the county to pay the company $3,000 per day, if necessary, to replace rock base, but failed to put a cap on the number of days for which those payments might be required. …

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