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EXCLUSIVE: Newly-appointed Nowata County sheriff discusses progress as jail remains closed

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EXCLUSIVE: Newly-appointed Nowata County sheriff discusses progress as jail remains closed

NOWATA, Okla. (KTUL) -- Tonight, we’re hearing from the newly-appointed Nowata County sheriff a week after her predecessor resigned from the job.

Sheriff Mirta Hallett promised she would be getting right to work making repairs to the aging jail, but today, those repairs continue as she's invited us back soon to see the finished product.

“This is a good county; unfortunately, some things have happened that have brought bad media," said Hallett.

She hasn’t been on the job too long, and she doesn’t plan to stay forever.

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“I have no intentions of running again," said Hallett.

Hallett is staying busy after taking office, coming out of retirement to take over and right the ship in Nowata County.

“There's been a lot of changes within the last four years since I retired," said Hallett.

Especially as the county jail remains closed with inmates being kept elsewhere.

“We don’t have the money to house them elsewhere; we need that money here," said Hallett.

Sheriff Hallett is promising to get right to work repairing the aging jail, but nearly a week after taking office, our cameras are still not being allowed inside.

“Most of it is cosmetic work," said Hallett.

A reported carbon monoxide leak forced the jail to close weeks ago, causing deputies and inmates to get sick.

Hallet says that’s still being addressed.

“One of our commissioners is talking with some other folks that will come in and give us a clean bill of health," said Hallett.

Former sheriff Terry Barnett resigned when a judge tried forcing her to reopen the jail and bring the inmates back, and since then, Sheriff Hallett has been a one-person paid department.

“We have no deputies that have been hired. We have been working with 10 reserves," said Hallett.

Sheriff Hallett follows a long line of short-term sheriffs, after her husband, Jim Hallet, served for 18 years, but she just hopes to make waves and move the department along.

“We have a lot of good people," said Hallett.

Sheriff Hallett plans on bringing back inmates and opening the jail by Friday.

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