CEDAR RAPIDS — With both the Linn County Jail and Sheriff’s Office in the path of the projected floodwaters, plans are being made for both facilities, Sheriff Brian Gardner said Thursday.
Starting Friday morning, sheriff’s office staff, as well as staff from the county roads and conversation divisions, plan to build a 5-foot tall sandbag wall around the sheriff’s office, 310 Second Ave SW.
“We’re also going to relocate as much equipment and supplies as possible out of the basement,” Gardner said.
Gardner said much of the office’s essential equipment, such as HVAC, computer and dispatch equipment and the generator, were moved out of the lower levels of the building after the 2008 floods, which inundated the Sheriff’s Office. That equipment now resides in the upper levels of the facility.
“That was all done specifically to try to avoid the damage we had in 2008,” Gardner said.
Gardner said he anticipates the office being closed sometime Friday and continuing to be closed Monday and Tuesday. He’s hopeful the office can reopen for business by Wednesday. In the meantime, dispatch and patrol are to work out of the Marion Police Department, he said.
As for the jail, which sits in the middle of the Cedar River next to the courthouse, Gardner said evacuations are to begin sometime this weekend. For safety reasons, the facilities where male and female inmates are to be transferred is not being disclosed until the moves are complete, Gardner said.
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Gardner said he has about 260 to 270 inmates to move. For inmates serving time on minor offenses, the district court has been contacted and arrangements have been made for those inmates to be released and serve their sentences at a later time, Gardner said.
While local authorities plan to be busy dealing with the impacts of the flood, some arrests are still likely to occur. Gardner said the Jones County Jail — a 45 minute drive from Cedar Rapids — is to handle those arrests, as well as arraignments while the jail is evacuated.
“If Jones County can bear with us for a couple of days, we think we’re going to be just fine,” he said.
Gardner said the courthouse is also taking steps to mitigate the impact of possible flooding, though he did not know what those efforts entail.