County Huber inmates locked down due to COVID-19 positives
Two work release dorms in the Taylor County jail have been locked down due to COVID-19 positives tests.
Taylor County sheriff Larry Woebbeking told members of the county’s law enforcement committee on Friday that Huber Dorms B and C have been locked down because five inmates have tested positive but are currently not showing symptoms. The dorms are large open rooms where the inmates who take part in the work release program sleep. According to Woebbeking, as of Friday no jail staff has tested positive.
Committee member Ray Soper asked if there is mandatory testing taking place of either inmates or staff members. According to Woebbeking, there is no mandatory testing for employees, but all inmates and those who have been arrested are tested on a regular basis.
Soper noted the processes in place to test the workers at nursing homes and said he thought the processes would have been similar for those working at the jail.
“I am not aware of any mandatory testing procedures,” Woebbeking said, adding that he was not sure as to what every other law enforcement agency in the state did.
As a result of the infections, the county is no longer accepting any Huber inmates for the time being.
In other law enforcement matters, committee members:
_ Received an update from Woebbeking about the deployment of body cameras. He said they have been well received by the deputies and are connecting with the squad camera systems well.
_ Approved the Taylor County Hazard Mitigation plan. This is a mandatory plan each county must develop and approve. It will go onto the full county board for approval later this month.
_ Approved an updated job description for the data records manager position. The revision was made at the request of the county’s human resources department to reflect the changes in job duties. Committee chairman Lester Lewis noted the job description was longer that two pages. He has opposed overly detailed job descriptions as being unnecessarily detailed. The job description will go to the county’s personnel committee for review and approval.
_ Discussed the impact that a delay in the Steve Bowers criminal trial will have on the law enforcement budget. Woebbeking had built his 2020 budget around no longer having to pay salary and benefits to Bowers. Bowers has been on paid administrative leave since 2017. The case was supposed to go to trial this month, but has been delayed until 2021. Woebbeking said in speaking with the Department of Justice, they are hopeful it will be done within the first part of 2021. The consensus was to take a wait and see approach before making any changes to the budget.