Sheriff tells commissioners how he'll enrich county coffers; Tregoning also describes jail's medical upgrade


After inviting the Carroll commissioners outdoors yesterday to see how his office had spent county funds on uniforms, patches and painting and striping marked patrol cars, Sheriff Kenneth L. Tregoning marched into their conference room and spelled out how he would save or earn them money, beginning today.

Tregoning used the quarterly meeting yesterday to update the commissioners on 19 items, including the implementation today of new medical services at the county jail. The move will save $20,000 to $25,000 a year and provide better services, he said.

ComMed, a LaPlata-based private contractor, is prepared to take over medical operations at the detention center today, Tregoning said.

"They will have a doctor on call and have a doctor or nurse on duty at all times, but most important, this new contractor means no sheriff's deputies or correctional officers will have to dispense prescription medication," Tregoning said.

Medical personnel will evaluate the necessity of providing services to inmates who request them, cutting abuses, he said.

Beyond those improvements, Tregoning said he would seek state legislation to allow his office to collect board from inmates serving weekend sentences.

"The going rate [in other jurisdictions] is $40 a weekend, and we currently have 15 inmates on weekend sentencing," Tregoning told Commissioners Julia Walsh Gouge, Donald I. Dell and Robin Bartlett Frazier in a 45-minute meeting yesterday.

The sheriff said his staff has nearly completed research that would enable setting a per diem rate for housing a minimum of 16 federal prisoners for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

A contract for holding INS prisoners, many awaiting deportation, should net the county about $325,000 annually, Tregoning has said.

Savings and earnings were a focal point for about half the items on the sheriff's agenda, and his comments routinely brought smiles to members of the three-member panel who control the county's coffers.

In providing a update on the 100-bed jail addition under construction, Lt. Col. George Hardinger, the warden, told the commissioners that occupancy of the building's first floor is scheduled for Sept. 15, and the second floor should be completed by Sept. 21.

After thoroughly searching the building for safety purposes, correctional officers will begin moving work-release prisoners into the addition as soon as possible, Hardinger said.

That space is essential to begin housing INS prisoners.

Tregoning said legislation also is being prepared that would give the sheriff authority to place selected inmates nearing the end of their sentences on home detention.

That authority rests with judges only. Tregoning wants the opportunity and flexibility to use private services, such as home detention, to better move prisoners from incarceration to society.

The county pays $56 a day to hold an inmate in the detention center. Under home detention, the inmate would pay for the privilege of being released on home detention.

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