Sheriff’s department expansion ready to break ground

Published 6:45 am Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Site-plan prep has started on the future new Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department building that will be added to the west side of the current facility on E. Jackson Avenue. Trees have been removed and construction fences are up where the new, three-story building will be located.

After 30 years, the county has outgrown the current facility that serves as both the sheriff’s department and the detention center. The new building will allow the sheriff’s department and dispatch office to move into the new building, freeing up space for renovations of the detention center.

The building will be attached to the current one. The bottom floor will be for evidence, with a refrigerated area for blood and other perishable evidence, and the dispatch 911 call center. There will be new locker rooms for the deputies. 

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Administration will be on one side of the second level, which is also the ground level, with the patrol area on the other side. The third level will be a training facility and an investigation department.

Sheriff Joey East said the construction will take 18 to 24 months. Once the building is complete, renovations to the existing jail will begin.

“We need more observation cells,” East said. “We have a women’s facility that only holds 10 people, and it stays full most of the time.”

East said the existing cells need upgraded locks and the entire facility’s plumbing needs upgrading as well. “The biggest issues we have is air conditioning and plumbing,” he said. “We’ve been having to replace the copper plumbing 6 to 12 inches at a time and that’s almost daily. That’s pretty typical for jails that are 30 years old.”

The project is funded from a $20 million bond the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved in May 2023, which will also help pay for Phase 2 of the West Oxford Loop extension that will connect College Hill Road to Industrial Park Road.