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County plans thorough jail exploration

Kewaunee County officials are traveling around the area over the next several weeks as phase two of their jail facility study gets underway. The committee visited Green Lake County’s facility last week and will visit similar buildings in Door and Oconto Counties as they try to discover ways to best maximize the space. They would like to make it efficient from an operational perspective and a staffing angle. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says he has learned a lot from the committee members without law enforcement backgrounds simply because they ask questions that may have otherwise been assumed.

Joski says the jail facility planning committee will begin breaking down what they learned and developing a conceptual draft of a new building as soon as they complete their circuit of tours. 



As we continue through the Phase Two portion of our Facility Study, we have begun the discussion regarding “Spaces”. This is a very important part of this phase as it provides insight into the many implications to having the properly sized and positioned “Spaces” so that we can realize the maximum efficiencies from both an operational perspective as well as the optimal use of staff. While many of these spaces are dictated by building code, some are a based on the intended vision we have for our facility from a community perspective. When done properly, the layout of these spaces will provide the maximum flexibility as both our community as well as those we house change in years to come as it relates to needs and the ability to meet those needs.

       In support of this phase of the study, members of the Public Safety Building Study Committee had the opportunity to tour the Green Lake County facility on October 16th.  This was a great chance to see how a county similar in size to our own county underwent this same process and to share the knowledge they gained through it. Next week we will be touring The Door County Facility along with the Oconto County facility. While the primary focus of these tours are the spaces and functions of the facilities related to the jail, we will also have a chance to view their Public Safety communications areas so as to gain an understanding of how this vital component of our project can be laid out for maximum efficiency.

       One of the main take aways I had from this first tour was the need to keep a focus on the future. As we walked through the facility we were provided access to areas which although not in use at the time, will provide for future growth either in the area of staffing as well as over all jail capacity. This is a crucial consideration as we will only have one chance to do this right and although it is always tempting cut costs, we must make sure that those cost savings are not at the detriment to long term functionality.

       Another key consideration that was shared by the staff at Green Lake County is the importance of feedback from those working in the jail as they have a greater understanding of daily tasks and how the overall design of a facility can either enhance operational efficiency of be a detriment to it. This is very important as the staffing of this facility will represent a greater cost than that of the facility itself. This is an issue we will pay close attention to in our upcoming tours as well.

       Once these tours are completed, our Committee will meet and discuss all of the knowledge we have gained and use that knowledge to begin the process of developing a conceptual draft of our own facility. It is important to note that we continue to look at this facility from all angles and consider all possibilities from the five options which were approved by our Committee as part of Phase One. It is through the diversity of this committee that we will be able to look at these options from so many different perspectives and arrive at what we will all feel is the best course of action. Once the work of developing a design for spaces with maximum efficiency is completed, we will be reporting out to the County Board and even more importantly to our community.

         If you have any questions about the current progress, or the work we have done thus far, please feel free to give me a call. Also, as in the past, I am always available to provide a tour of our current jail so that there can be a solid understanding of our current facility and its limitations. I can always be reached at (920)388-7177. I look forward to providing my next update in the weeks to come.

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