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Jail group holds first meeting

Thursday's first Jail Ad Hoc Committee meeting was noted by introductions.

The three-person community panel (Mike Hunter, Rod Rommel and Jay Richardson) never met before Thursday and, once greetings were over, it was time to get introduced to what brought them together.

The panel received nearly 500 pages of background information relating to the jail going all the way back to 1998. They also heard from Pierce County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Boles, who told them how Pierce County's jail affects the court system.

It was also determined from Thursday's three-hour meeting they would like to hear in the future from Sheriff Nancy Hove, the police chiefs from within the county, District Attorney Sean Froelich, Corporation Counsel Brad Lawrence, Sheriff's Lieutenant Mike Knoll, who is in charge of the jail, Chief Deputy Jason Matthys and members from the Finance and Personnel Committee.

The next meeting is set for next Monday, with the exact time yet to be determined. The panel will hear from consultant Marvin Wilson for the first time at that meeting. Wilson spent 34 years working for Polk County, Ia., the last 17 of them as Chief Jailer, before retiring in 2006. He currently is an auditor for the American Correctional Association, with over 90 audits completed in states such as Florida, Indiana, Colorado, New Jersey, Minnesota, Virginia and Tennessee. He is also a consultant for the National Institute of Corrections.

The committee was formed last month, explained County Board Chairman Jeff Holst, to finally reach a resolution in this matter.

"We've been spinning our tires on this for 20 years," he said at the time. "It's either time to move it forward or kill it all together."

Holst went on to say the committee will be made up of three people "who aren't at the whim of the electorate."