Oklahoma County Commissioner Gets Advice On Jail Construction At Legislative Conference

Oklahoma County Commissioner Myles Davidson received advice on the new jail construction from experts at the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference on Monday in D.C.

Tuesday, February 14th 2023, 5:28 pm



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County officials from across the country wrapped up their annual winter meeting in the nation's capital Monday with a speech from President Biden and for some, a slate of final meetings.

About a half dozen county commissioners from Oklahoma attended the National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference this year. One commissioner from Rogers County (Ron Burrows) was pushing for permanent funding for the upkeep of inland ports and waterways, while another, from Oklahoma County, took the opportunity to meet with experts on jail construction.

Related Story: Rogers County Commissioner Lobbies D.C. For Dedicated Waterway Funding

"And they’ve been very gracious this week in educating me on some of the pitfalls and stuff to watch out for," said newly elected Oklahoma County Commissioner Myles Davidson.

Commissioner Davidson is talking about his meetings with representatives from the National Institute of Corrections, which he says is offering to help with the county's plans to replace its long-troubled detention center, a project that voters green-lighted last year by approving a $260 million bond issue.

"We released $40 million in bonds just last Monday," said Davidson in an interview Tuesday morning, "that’s going to allow us to do the architect search, it’s going to allow us to search for a property to put it on...it’s stage number one."

As problems with the current jail continue unabated, Davidson says speed is critical, but not at the expense of hiring the right people.

"We were able to talk [with NIC] about the importance of hiring a construction manager that will allow us to work specifically on the jail," Davidson explained, "and somebody who has experience in building jails across the country."

Davidson was expecting to miss President Biden's speech this afternoon, as he already had meetings set up with members of the state's congressional delegation to talk about what he says is another priority -- getting funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to fill the county's $70 million construction backlog.

It's really important," Davidson said. "They’re going to be champions for us here, so coming to them and telling them exactly what we need and letting their staff know what we need."

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