Clinton County unveils new $24 million law center

Local News

The new facility houses the jail, sheriff's offices and 911 communications center

CLINTON, Iowa — The Clinton County Sheriff’s Department is celebrating a grand opening that’s been a decade in the making.

Staff cut the ribbon on the new Clinton County Law Center today. It’s the new jail, sheriff’s offices and 911 center. Officials deemed the old jail obsolete in 2008.

The new facility cost $24 million to build and holds 96 beds, but could be expanded to hold nearly double that population.

“Today marks the start of a paradigm shift in our operating philosophy at the Clinton County Jail,” said Clinton County Sheriff Rick Lincoln at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Chief Deputy Steve Diesch oversaw the construction, spending 40 hours a week at the build site for the last year and a half.

At the middle of the new facility is a command center.

“These monitors here have the whole facility on them,” Diesch said.

From there, one person can control the doors, which means staff no longer needs to escort someone from one room to the next.

“That’ll be new for [the inmates]. It will be new for us,” Diesch said. “If they can move themselves we won’t have to add more staff, so we’re hoping that it will work out.”

Inmates also no longer have to rely on staff to bring them out for their visits. They can talk to friends and family in the lobby via video phone.

“Everybody’s trying to do more with less,” Diesch said.

The new facility also has a medical wing, an intake area that can hold more than three times as many inmates as the old jail and a walkway connecting the jail to the courthouse.

With all the new tech comes hundreds of new policies for the staff to learn.

“Everything we do is night and day different,” Diesch said. “We’ve never opened doors with buttons. We’ve never controlled lights with the computer. We’ve never controlled water with the computer. We didn’t have 144 cameras. We only had 16.”

Staff will be coming in over the weekend to finish training up on the new technology and then next week the new law center will be up and running.

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