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Letters: Decision for jail came from committee

Over the past ten years as sheriff I cannot remember having to respond to opinion articles or editorials. The past few weeks have made me feel that I need to respond to the continuing attacks against myself personally and the sheriff's office overall.

The Law Enforcement Center seems to be sparking some controversy. Under the previous Sheriff, a new facility was built in 1982. It expanded in 1987 and soon after, the County was looking at options for overcrowding again. The idea of a regional jail was explored, as were other options. A committee of 12 people (including 2 commissioners) was formed to make recommendations. It was the recommendation of this committee and a unanimous vote of the County Commissioners that led to the current facility. The cost of this facility was $ 8.6 million. The same facility built one year later cost Kanabec County between $19-20 Million. The Law Enforcement Center houses inmates, administration, interview rooms, public meeting rooms and the Emergency Command Center. It also has one floor that may be used for expansion within the County. It was the committee's decision to build large enough to prevent the need for future expansions. It was planned that 60 beds would open initially and have room to expand another 56 beds at a future date. In 2006, the county received $118,000 revenue from other counties. In 2007, that figure rose to $277,000. Due to a decline in inmates in surrounding Counties, this number has been reduced.

It is the practice of the sheriff's office to participate in outside activities where public safety is involved. This includes such things as the County fair, parades, and the fishing derby. These are all looked at closely and deputies are used as needed. The sheriff's Office has requests frequently to participate in community activities and these will continue to be looked at individually.

I have been proud to serve Hubbard County for the last 30 years. While there are times when I have disagreed with the County Board, we have maintained a good working relationship. I will miss working with the commissioners. I have no regrets with my tenure as Sheriff and will retire with my head held high, proud of my accomplishments.

Gary A. Mills, Hubbard County Sheriff