TPD seeks license for juvenile holding facility

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 18, 2001

Managing Editor

Jan. 17, 2001 10 PM

Troy Police Department officials are hopeful that a walk-through of the city’s holding facility for accused lawbreakers will meet standards to allow them to detain juveniles.

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Wedensday, the Alabama Department of Youth Services conducted an inspection of the facility to determine if it meets strict requirements set forth by law to make it a satisfactory place to hold juveniles who are accused of breaking the law.

"Currently, Pike County doesn’t have a facility to hold juveniles," said TPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Benny Scarbrough. "Chief Anthony Everage believes that undertaking such a plan for the Troy holding facility will result in reduced risks to our officers and will help keep them on our streets and not running all over the area dropping off and picking up juveniles accused with crimes."

The walk-through, Scarbrough said, was thorough, but he said he feels comfortable with the impression officials gave him.

"They were thorough in their approach to our facilities, our procedures and the physical security our facility offers," he said. "They asked a lot of questions, but I felt reassured when they left about what they saw."

The decision will not be a quick one, he sald, and it could take as long as two weeks for the police department to find out if they are licensed to detain juveniles.

"We are anxious, but we’re practicing patience," he said.

The facility, if licensed, would be a temporary holding facility for people under 18 who are accused of crime. Law prohibits a juvenile from being held more than 72 hours without a court hearing.

"We are not seeking to make permanent accommodations," Scarbrough said. "But we would like to take young people to our jail here instead of having to tie up our cars and personnel with transporting them to Opelika, Dothan, or even Bay Minette, if those closer facilities are full."

Scarbrough said the nearest facility where accused young offenders can be transported is an hour away.

"And that means an officer is on the road, taking the risks that come with that, and theyare not in the community where they belong," he said. "This is the primary reason Chief Everage has pushed to get this facility licensed to hold juveniles."

If licensed, the state would allow the TPD to hold up to two juveniles for a maximum of 72 hours.

"We simply want to establish our jail as a small, short-term juvenile detention center," Scarbrough said.

In the meantime, Scarbrough is hopeful that the news from Montgomery will be good news when it arrives in less than two weeks.