City officials are concerned about the status of the Phillips County Jail. If a section of the jail is forced to shut down it will inevitably affect the city in having to locate a place of incarceration for offenders.
According to H-WHPD Police Chief Uless Wallace, the city is not going to be held responsible for the 22 inmates that are currently being house because they are facing felony charges.
“This responsibility falls on the sheriff and the county,” said Wallace.
Wallace added that 6 inmates have since been released following hearings with the district court judge. They all faced misdemeanor charges.
“I have talked to other agencies that will house our prisoners based on fee,” stated Wallace.
According to Wallace the booking process will still have to take place in Phillips County.
“The inmates would be transported to another agency to be housed,” explained Wallace.
Wallace reported that the closest jail facility is Marianna and the farthest is Ashley County. Wallace added that Marianna would house prisoners for a fee of $40 a day for females and $35 for males.
Wallace explained that if the prisoner is charged with a felony, the county is responsible for housing them.
“I have spoken with the sheriff about this issue and we will properly announce these new developments to the public,” explained Wallace.
Wallace explained that the department does have a licensed individual to drive a bus in case of extra transportation needs arise.
In an unrelated item, Councilman Joe St. Columbia asked about a recent burglary that occurred in the police chief's office.
Wallace confirmed the burglary occurred. A report, he said, was not made due to the lack of serial numbers of the weapons that were stolen.
“There was a Glock and a shotgun that were taken in which we are still waiting serial numbers as well as additional correspondence with Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms because those weapons were licensed to the city,” explained Wallace.
St. Columbia asked what date the incident occurred to which Wallace responded that he could not recall but stated the information is at the police department. Wallace added that the report can be filed anywhere from 1 to 365 days. Wallace stated that he is anticipating a response from ATF in the next couple of weeks.