Rhea County finishes new justice center after overcrowding issues

DAYTON, Tenn. (WDEF) – Rhea County is preparing to open their new state of the art justice center.

In 2017, News 12 took a visit inside of the current Rhea County jail where they were having an overcrowding problem.

The maximum number for the jail is 87. But, more than a hundred are currently inside.

County officials have been working on a new state of the art facility for years and it will now house over 300 inmates, with room to spare.

Detective Rocky Potter, an abuse & sexual assault Investigator with the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department says, “We do have some property that is still available that years down the road, if the Sheriff decides that he wants to add on, I think 75 to 100 more could possibly added on.”

The new justice center will be attached to the jail as well.

It will include four new courtrooms and new offices for the Sheriff’s department staff.

The sheriff’s department says that COVID-19 played a large role in the delay of the opening.

Detective Potter says, “Been on this since dirt til done I guess you could say. They worked with the architects, worked with the construction people and were up here on a daily weekly basis and this is our finished product and I think that it is something that Rhea County needs to be proud of.”

The county hired more deputies and have been training them at the new facility.

Detective Potter says that once some inmates move in, the true training will begin.

“With the smaller amount here that gives us a chance to kind of get the guys broken into and trained on working the pods and working the electronic system. It’s better than trying to bring all 200 and something back in here at one time”, adds Potter.

Rhea County Sheriff Mike Neal says that the justice center should be open in the next few weeks.

County officials are allowing the public to tour the facilities Saturday from 12 until 6.

Reminder that Open House for the Justice Center starts today at 12pm-6pm. Please come by and see the new facility….

Posted by Rhea County Sheriffs Department on Sunday, February 14, 2021


Categories: Featured, Local News, Rhea County

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