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County Jail re-opens after remodeling
July 10, 2014
By Stephanie Allums
Farmer Staff Writer
After many months of the McKenzie County Jail being closed for
construction and remodeling, it has finally opened its doors again.
The McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office began filling cells at the
newly-remodeled jail in Watford City on Wednesday, June 25. Deputies
have kept up with the flow of traffic fairly well with inmates moving in
and out as need be over the past several weeks, according to Sheriff
“We are taking in inmates and transferring them out in the afternoons
when needed,” Fulwider said. “If we fill up, we release inmates to Stark
County or Williams County if spots are available. Some inmates go to
the STOP Facility in Bismarck.”
The newly-remodeled jail has nine long-term cells, which seem to stay
full. Inmates are transferred to surrounding county jails when
necessary, Fulwider said.
There are two temporary holding cells and a couple of detox rooms as
well. As far as jail capacity, it’s not much different than it was
before the remodel.
The opening date for the jail was pushed back numerous times due to a variety of issues that have finally been resolved.
“We came across some minor bugs with the doors and locks,” Fulwider said. “But they have been fixed.”
“Our jail is a holding spot,” Fulwider said. “I see our jail as a stopping point.”
The McKenzie County Jail is lacking jail cells, even after the remodel.
Surrounding counties are turning down McKenzie County inmate transfers
because they are at capacity as well.
There is one obvious solution to these issues, according to Fulwider.
And that is to add more jail cells. The McKenzie County Board of
Commissioners has also come to the conclusion that the county must build
a new jail to accommodate its own criminal load.
A few of the locations being analyzed for building a new jail include a
U-shaped lot south of the Watford City Airport; a lot south of Whiting
Oil & Gas Company; or west of the existing courthouse and jail. A
location has not yet been selected and no plans are set in stone.
With a larger jail would come more employees to help run the facility.
And with that, they would need more training and certification. This
project is one big puzzle; in order for it to come together, all of the
pieces need to fit just right. That’s what the commissioners and
Sheriff’s Office are trying to do.
Building a new jail is not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when’ and ‘where.’