When I saw the Northwest Herald had done a story on the possibility that the County might not renew its contract with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement people, I asked the Sheriff’s Department for the statement which was provided the paper.
Here it is:
This is only my fourth week as Sheriff, so I won’t be making any snap decisions on an issue as complicated and potentially costly as this one.
That being said, if a new agreement emerges following the expiration of the current one in October 2015, it will be dramatically different.
The current contract, finalized in 2005, committed the federal government to build a third floor on the jail.
In return, the County agreed to accept a certain number of inmates at a certain per diem rate for a period of 10 years.
That daily rate was increased slightly last year.
However, these two undertakings will both terminate automatically next October.
If, between now and then, we can assemble a new plan that makes sense to the County from both the economic and the jail operations standpoint, and there is federal buy-in to the concept, we may be able to move forward on a new agreement or agreements.
But we are a long way from that point, and there are many contingencies, not the least of which is federal immigration policy.