Jail reopens after renovations
March 17, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
As the Issaquah City Jail prepared to close for three days of round-the-clock renovations, city police officers worked with their counterparts across the region to send lawbreakers to other facilities. Reopening the jail March 11 was the easy part. Workers completed the upgrades 90 minutes ahead of schedule. Hours later, the jail admitted an inmate.
Police Chief Paul Ayers said the shutdown and reopening of the 62-bed jail unfolded without problems. The jail closed March 8 in order for new carpet and flooring to be installed. Because the jail contracts with 20 other agencies to house inmates, planning for the shutdown required weeks of coordination.
During the shutdown, officers in Bellevue, Kirkland and other cities sent their misdemeanor offenders elsewhere. Issaquah officers took two criminals to the Kirkland jail. Each man spent two days at the facility, said Lt. Robert Balkema, jail manager for the Kirkland Police Department.
Other criminals from Issaquah and nearby contract cities were sent to the King County and Yakima County jails during the closure.
“It went about as smoothly as you could have asked for,” Balkema said.
Kirkland sent a female inmate to the King County facility who would have otherwise been incarcerated at the Issaquah jail. While the Kirkland jail holds only male offenders, the Issaquah facility operates an area for women.
“I am not aware of any problems,” said Officer Greg Grannis, Bellevue Police Department spokesman.
Jim Bove, spokesman for the Redmond Police Department, said his agency sent some offenders to the county jail during the shutdown.
The city received a bid of $31,828 to complete the renovations; the amount does not include lost revenue from contract agencies. Officials estimated the city would lose about $2,800 per day during the closure.
In preparation for the shutdown, the jail stopped taking new lawbreakers at 10 p.m. March 5. For the next several days, offenders were booked, fingerprinted and photographed at the police department by Issaquah officers. Most of the suspects were then issued a citation and released. Two were sent to the Kirkland jail.
Workers replaced grimy, stained carpet in the stairwell leading to the jail, as well as inside the lobby and the visitation center. They ripped out carpet inside secure areas and used polished concrete as a replacement.
“It looks really nice,” Ayers said. “It’s very functional.”