The Edmond Sun

Oklahoma State House

January 25, 2014

Dealing with emergency detention

(Continued)

ENID, Okla. — Garfield County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Jerry Niles said his department averages about a dozen EOD transports a year, in addition to hundreds of trips made by deputies transporting inmates to other counties for court, to doctor’s appointments or to DOC facilities.

“In the last three months we have seen an increase,” he said. “We’ve already had three for this month.”

Conducting an evaluation and transport for an EOD usually ties up a deputy for an entire day, Niles said.

“We usually send one deputy on an EOD transport, unless there are extenuating circumstance,” he said. “If we start these transports at night, it slows down our response time in providing services to the people of Garfield County.”

Even without EOD transports, Niles said his office is at its limits.

“Our biggest thing is, even with full staff we’re not staffed for all the missions we have,” he said. “Any given day of the week, I have three to five deputies on the road, transporting prisoners or transporting juveniles. It’s non-stop.”

Niles said the distance deputies drive for EOD transports has increased.

“For years we’d always gone to Western State (Psychiatric Center) in Fort Supply,” the sheriff said. “A lot of times it’s full.”

Niles said deputies responded to a call one January morning and determined a woman needed to be evaluated. Deputies arrived with the woman at Northwest Behavioral Center at 7:20 a.m.

“We had two deputies with her for almost an hour and another deputy with her until 2:18 p.m. until they found a bed,” Niles said. “My transport deputy got home about 8 p.m. and had to drive her to Ardmore.

“Basically, someone was tied up with this individual for almost 13 hours.”

Niles said it’s up to ODMHSAS to find beds for those placed under emergency detention.

“Traditionally, we spend anywhere from three to five hours either at the hospital or Northwest Behavioral before we even get on the road, if we even get on the road,” Niles said.

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