THE NEED

Sheriff’s Offices and Jail

The existing Detention facility was originally constructed in 1978, partially renovated (updated) in 2006 and presents deficiencies similar to other facilities built 40 years ago. It is plagued by conditions that cannot be cost-effectively addressed:

  • There is not a security entrance for this facility
  • Current building codes such as American Correctional Association (ACA) standards, and Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) requirements are not met. Renovating the facility to comply with these requirements cannot be achieved in a cost effective manner
  • Security and liability issues associated with escorting prisoners outside and walking them to the District Courts Building for court appearances
  • The linear layout requires more staff on-foot than a modern design. There is no capacity within the current jail to install a more efficient, secure podular layout, and detention guidelines simply cannot be accomplished
  • Environmental quality is a concern and past efforts at remediation have not been able to maintain a healthy environment
  • Mechanical system deficiencies suggest complete replacement of heating, air-conditioning and ventilation including fire alarm, sprinkler and smoke/exhaust systems
  • Conduit and piping for many of the systems are encased in heavily-reinforced concrete and/or concrete masonry and replacement would be extremely expensive
  • Inadequate space for:
    • The Jail–currently has 10-17 beds but holds over 20 prisoners, not including another 15-25 prisoners being housed elsewhere. With this overcrowding, the County is required to spend $380-450,000 in direct Housing costs annually transporting and boarding 20-40 prisoners in other jurisdictions
    • The Sheriff’s Department–has grown over the years beyond the capacity of the current facility while officials simply made the best of what they have. It no longer accommodates modern law enforcement functions and does not have adequate space for routine functions such as:
      • 911/Dispatch operates out of a makeshift enclosure at the end of the garage
      • Evidence storage is located in various locations, closets, etc. and does not meet standards for security to prevent tampering or loss

The District Courts Building

This judicial facility contains a smaller courtroom originally intended to supplement the single courtroom in the historic Courthouse. Also located in this facility are the Judge’s Chambers and Court Administration offices. The facility needs to address the following concerns:

  • There is no secure entrance into this building
  • The single court can accommodate 40-50 and is inadequate for a larger jury trial when necessary
  • Secure, separate circulation of judges, court clerk/staff and prisoners cannot currently be achieved

The Prosecutor’s Office Building

This building was originally the County Health Department and was converted to the Prosecutor’s Office because it offered the closest proximity to the District Courts Building and, functionally, it is much more appropriate if prosecutors are located close to courtrooms, judges and judicial staff. If judicial functions are moved to the same building as the new Law Enforcement facilities, then it will be efficient and secure to move the Prosecutor’s Offices into the same building. This facility will be returned to the Linn County Health Department.

The Historic County Courthouse

Inspection of the current Linn County Courthouse reveals a beautiful, historic building which dates back to the 1860’s. The Courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the second-oldest County Courthouse in operation in Kansas. It is truly a structure of which residents of Linn County can be proud. The Courthouse currently holds government offices and a single, large courtroom on the second floor.

Unfortunately, the existing structure presents a number of operational and functional deficiencies. Substantial remedies and financial investment(s) cannot be justified on a long-term basis, as outlined below:

  • The entrance to this facility does not have a security checkpoint
  • Failure to comply with a number of building codes such as ADA, NFPA and IBC. These codes are stringent for a “place of assembly” which applies for occupancy of 50 or more
  • There is no access for disabled staff or visitors to the second floor of the Courthouse and there are a number of partial and full staircases to be navigated
  • Fire-protection issues such as a fire-alarm system, duress stations, sprinklers, etc. need to be addressed
  • Exterior building deterioration continues to present expensive challenges, such as matching 150-year old brick and limestone, replacement of windows and repair/replacement of mansard trim and “diamond” shingles
  • Restrooms are located on multiple levels and do not meet standards of modern convenience or ADA standards