Jail tour by commissioners brings several issues to light

Huntington County Commissioner President Tom Wall (left) inspects the roof of “D block” at the Huntington County Jail, as Jail Commander Steve McIntyre explains repairs the jail will need in the near future on the commissioners’ tour of the facility.
Huntington County Commissioner President Tom Wall (left) inspects the roof of “D block” at the Huntington County Jail, as Jail Commander Steve McIntyre explains repairs the jail will need in the near future on the commissioners’ tour of the facility. Photo by Matt Murphy.

A tour of the Huntington County Jail brought maintenance and modernization issues at the facility to the attention of the Huntington County Commissioners

Commissioners toured the facility as part of their regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 19.

Jim Shively, head of maintenance at the jail, pointed out a number of items at the facility that need repaired or replaced.

Shively said that one of the biggest concerns it the buildup of rust in the ventilation system for the jail.

The rust "can't be repaired," he said.

The maintenance for the 27-year-old ventilation system is supposed to be covered by an $18,000-per-year contract with Havel Brothers Inc., of Fort Wayne., Shively says. However, the contract does not cover replacement of the system.

Shively also pointed out several remote-control locks that were in need of repair because a small piece on the locks has worn out.

"I'm concerned about employees, and making sure they're secure," Commissioner President Tom Wall said.

In addition to the ventilation and the locks, the panel that controls the locks is original, said Shively.

Jail Commander Steve McIntyre pointed out that the Huntington jail received parts from Wells County Jail when Wells County upgraded to new touch-screen technology to control the locks a few years ago. However, because Huntington's system is no longer produced, finding parts will be difficult when the extra Wells County parts run out.

Other problems, including small leaks in the roof and swollen shower doors that are difficult to shut, were brought up at the meeting.

"We have a problem we're going to have to address," said Commissioner Jerry Helvie. "I think all the commissioners would agree we have to do something,"

Shively and the three commissioners agreed to set up a time to meet to review the service contract with Havel - which the previous commissioners signed - as well as to find monetary resources for the repairs.