Following the temporary escape of an inmate at the Leavenworth County Jail last weekend, the county’s sheriff asked Thursday for additional safety measures at the Justice Center.
Following the temporary escape of an inmate at the Leavenworth County Jail last weekend, the county’s sheriff asked Thursday for additional safety measures at the Justice Center. Raheem Armstead of Leavenworth allegedly left the custody of a jail guard Saturday as he was taking trash to an outside receptacle at the Justice Center. Armstead was taken back into custody Monday and now faces new charges related to the incident. “The way that occurred was because there is no security fencing on the back side of the jail,” said County Administrator Pat Hurley. That, and that guards supervising similar trusty work are not armed due to concerns that others could ambush them. “It’s an unsecure area,” Hurley said. But according to County Clerk Janet Klasinski, Leavenworth County Sheriff Dave Zoellner wants to remedy that shortcoming at the facility to prevent future incidents. “He estimated $75,000 for a security fence and an electric gate,” she said. Klasinski added that Zoellner had ample funds in his jail budget to cover those costs — $387,000 was left at the end of the year as carryover to start 2013 — but the $75,000 would need to be transferred into the jail’s equipment reserve fund before the department can pay it out for the project. Commission Chairman John Flower acknowledged that this is not the first time the commission had heard of these types of security measures. “I think that’s been on the request line for a number of budgets,” he said, adding that he was happy to see the sheriff willing to take action now to get the project done. The commission approved a board order to transfer the necessary funds for the project.