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Collinsville Mulls Lack Of Jail And Other Problems

COLLINSVILLE, Okla. (AP) Five years after fire destroyed the city's jail, Collinsville officials are looking for ways to replace it and resolve other problems facing the Tulsa County city.

A fire destroyed the historic Collinsville City Hall in December 2001, displacing administrative offices, the fire and police departments and the jail.

Thanks to the Vision 2025 sales-tax initiative approved by Tulsa County voters, the city recouped much of what it lost last year with the opening of a new city hall and fire-emergency medical services center.

The Police Department moved to another building, but without a lockup.

``It's a pretty huge obstacle that we have to face,'' Police Chief Charlie Annis said of the lack of a lockup.

``We'd like to have three small ones (cells) for male, female and juvenile'' inmates, Mayor Stan Sallee said. ``But just to have one, period, would be great.''

Under an agreement with Owasso, Collinsville must ship its inmates, about two per week, there or to the Tulsa Jail, Annis said.

That means having to call in an extra officer to maintain a two-officer shift, paying overtime and reducing public safety, he said.

It also means that the community misses out on revenue from outstanding warrants, of which the town has at least 300, Annis said.

``We just don't have a place to put them,'' he said. ``Everybody knows that we do not have a jail and that we're handicapped.

Getting a jail ``is just a matter of properly policing the community.''

Town leaders also are seeking funding for a new ambulance and fire engine for the town of about 4,300 people.

``Public safety issues have been at the top of our radar screen for the last several years,'' Sallee said.

For the capital improvements, city leaders will explore special appropriations at the federal level and forming a community panel to study financing via other means, such as a bond package or sales-tax vote, the mayor said.

``This won't be city-driven,'' he said. ``We want the community to be behind this, and if they're not, we're not going to bring it to them.''
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