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Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office to start a citizen's advisory board

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Oklahoma County Jail in Downtown Oklahoma City. (KOKH/Connor Hansen)

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office is hoping to get more public input, and is forming a citizen advisory board.

The board could help come up with a plan to find funding for the county jail, but would also be involved in all aspects of the sheriff's office like the patrol division, judicial services and courthouse security.

On Friday, sewage leaked from the ceiling into the jail's basement, probably caused by an inmate flushing sheets or socks down the toilet.

The sheriff's office says it was the second time in a month that has happened, and there has been a list of other problems for the almost 600 employees in the building and about 1,700 inmates.

"Something's got to be done," said Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Mark Opgrande. "There's got to be a solution to this, and that's one of the reasons you really need the community input on what they want to see happen to this facility."

On Friday, the sewage was leaking near the jail's kitchen and its evidence room.

Opgrande says there have been issues since the jail opened in 1991.

"There's not a funding source for the jail," Opgrande said. "They did a sales tax for a couple of years, enough money to build this facility, but then there wasn't a tax or anything that was sustainable so there wasn't a funding source for the jail its self."

Part of the reason for the new citizens advisory board is to help figure out solutions for the jail.

The most important part will be finding enough funding to either fix the current one, or build a completely new jail.

"What this group will be able to do is, take a deep dive into the problem so they can understand what is at stake here, what are the issues we're trying to resolve for the last few years." Opgrande said.

The sheriff's office doesn't know how many people will be on that board, or how long their terms will be yet.

Anyone who lives in the county can apply.



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