ADEL, Iowa -- The new Dallas County Law Enforcement Center has been in the works since 2013 and now is only a few months away from completion.
After three failed attempts at approving a bond referendum for the new facility and jail, it was finally approved. The $22.7 million project broke ground in 2017. Now it's finally hitting the home stretch after numerous delays to the construction portion of the project as well.
Sheriff Chad Leonard said weather played a major role in the delays that caused the completion date to be pushed back almost a whole year, but the project is still on track financially.
The center will have major improvements to the jail. The current facility was technically only built to hold 24 beds, but this new jail will have 132 beds. Dallas County will no longer have to transport inmates when its beds are full and ultimately save millions of dollars in the long run.
It's not only larger but is also top of the line in design. It features things like a correctional officer center in the jail pod that allows them to see inmates from a bird's eye view, special lighting and glass that allows officers to see into day rooms but doesn’t allow inmates to see out, and other items that improves the facility’s functionality and safety.
“This facility is kind of a state of the art facility. What we currently have now, with the way our current jail is, if we have a problem with the plumbing or any issues our maintenance people have to go inside the cells and work on stuff and we have to move inmates around. The way this one is designed all the mechanical stuff is behind in a chase, behind the jail itself so maintenance people can fix almost anything from that chase and never have to enter the jail itself,” Sheriff Leonard said.
The law enforcement center will also feature a kitchen, which will be cost-effective in the long run not having to outsource food for inmates anymore.
Earlier this week Sheriff Leonard gave the board of supervisors a tour now that you can really start to see how this new facility will help this fast-growing county.
“Everybody was pretty excited about it because coming from what we are currently in now, we have approximately 90 employees and you know that building that we were in was originally is set up for I think 28 employees and that was a future number that they were looking at when they built that one. So it has grown, grown a lot,” Sheriff Leonard said.
Sheriff Leonard hopes to have staff in and trained and ready to transfer over inmates by late April.