Saline County Juvenile Detention Facility temporarily closes

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SALINA, Kansas — The Saline County Sheriff has temporarily closed the Juvenile Detention Facility saying it’s unsafe because of a lack of employees.

“They had quite a few incidents over there in the last six months at the juvenile center,” said Sheriff Glen Kochanowski.

He’s transferred the young Saline County inmates to a facility in Junction City at a cost of $150 per inmate per day.

Kochanowski announced Monday that there is a need for more staff members to keep conditions safe at the Juvenile Detention Facility.

At this time, there are only 10 full-time employees spread over three eight-hour shifts.

“If something happens inside the facility with inmates fighting or inmates damaging something, the way the facility is set up right now, I’ve got one officer that goes in to try to deal with what’s going on,” said Kochanowski.

“You should never send one officer into a situation like that,” he said.

The sheriff says he hopes to add two more full-time employees to increase those safety measures.

One county leader is concerned about the sheriff is handling the situation.

“$39,000 per staff position, plus uniforms, plus other accessories to uniform the officer, but most of our departments can’t come in and just say, ‘Hey, I need two staff members,’ if it’s not budgeted,” said Saline County Commissioner Randy Duncan.

Duncan is not sure the sheriff’s jurisdiction includes being able to shut down the Juvenile Detention Facility.

“It’s been something that not only the sheriff has been working on but the county commission has been working on,” said Duncan.

“Brought in some really some pretty serious young criminals who don’t hesitate to disrespect authority and not pay attention to what they’re told to do and it’s just been escalating, said Kochanowski.

Until the situation is resolved, three of the current employees will continue to work at the juvenile center, processing incoming inmates.

The other employees will work at the Saline County Jail.

The sheriff says the move is only temporary and he hopes to find a permanent solution by July.

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