• November 26, 2014

Bell County Jail certified as 'longest-tenured' in state

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Posted: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:09 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Hayley Kappes

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON – The Bell County jail staff was honored Monday for passing the Texas Commission on Jail Standards inspection and certification for the 23rd year in a row.

Sheriff Dan Smith and Jail Administrator Maj. Bob Patterson received the honor at the the county commissioners meeting Monday.

Smith credited the jail staff for their achievement.

"The inspector told us we were the longest-tenured certified jail of our size in the state," Smith said. "The staff work hard everyday, not only when an inspection is coming up."

Fred St. Armant, TCJS inspector, completed the 17-hour annual inspection of the new jail on Loop 121 and the central jail annex, both in Belton.

The inspection focused on inmate classification. disciplinary and grievance procedures, life safety issues, food and medical services, records management, sanitation and staffing among 642 individual areas checked for compliance.

St. Armant found no deficiencies with the two facilities and noted the jails were very clean and professionally managed.

Adan Munoz Jr., executive director of TCJS, said in comparison to compatible size jails, Bell County serves as an exemplary.

"Inspector Fred St. Armant indicated that for the most part, the majority of the facility was clean," Munoz said. "He did recommend that the 24 men tank area be cleaned twice a day, rather than once a day. There had been a problem with the commodes not working properly, but since that issue came up, it has now been maintained in better condition."

The Bell County Jail system is comprised of three facilities, and when fully occupied, have a combined capacity of 1,367 inmates including medical beds.

County Judge Jon Burrows said there were some bumps along the way of moving prisoners and transitioning to the new jail facility, which opened in January, but jail staff were still able to adjust.

"The Central Avenue jail took two years to finish construction because of delays," Burrows said. "(The staff) is good at adjusting and looking at what is needed and required for the facilities."

Contact Hayley Kappes at hayleyk@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7559.

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