Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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January 14, 2013

Jail passes surprise inspection

Corsicana — New Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner had some visitors his first full week in office — the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

It was, Tanner told the Navarro County Commissioners Court on Monday, a good visit.

Tanner reported that the county jail passed the surprise inspection and received a Certificate of Compliance from the state, with only minor recommendations for the county.

“We passed with what we considered ‘flying colors,’” Tanner told commissioners Monday.

Tanner said only small “day to day operational items” were pointed out by inspectors for correction or action that he called “minor” — mentioning specifically a need for materials in the jail’s law library, and a problem with a roof that is being addressed.

Pct. 4 Commissioner James Olsen said that the state inspectors spoke highly of the county’s jail personnel.

“He was very complimentary of our department and we’re very proud of that,” Olsen said. “He said they do a very good job of trying to stay in compliance and that they were always very good to work with. I think that’s a compliment on our personnel and we appreciate it.”

Tanner was pleased that the “surprise” inspection went well, and complimented the jail staff as well.

“That tells you that the employees that you have and supervisors are doing what they should be doing on a daily basis to make sure that we maintain compliance at all times,” Tanner said. “It shows we’re in compliance regardless, with no prior preparations.”

Tanner also requested the commissioners court to authorize his department to maintain up to 20 reserve deputy positions in the department — an increase of seven over what he carries now. He added there were presently two people in the process of joining the reserves now.

Tanner said the assistance to the department provided by the reserve deputies is invaluable, and a money saver for the county.

“It keeps us from having to pay overtime,” Tanner said, noting that the reserve deputies receive no pay for their services.

“They are volunteers. They volunteer their time, they provide the same service once they put their uniform on as any other certified officer.

All reserves are fully-licensed law enforcement officers, and go through a background check before being considered for reserve status, he said.

Commissioners approved Tanner’s request for a standard of up to 20 reserve deputies with no further court action.

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