Jail tours to begin each Thursday

ALPENA — Each Thursday throughout October public tours of Alpena County Sheriff’s Office and jail will be held to allow people an opportunity to get a first hand look before the millage vote Nov. 7.

Sheriff Steve Kieliszewski said the tours will consist of small groups and will last about a half hour. He said Jail Administrator Scott Gagnon will give the tours and be able to explain the different functions of the facility and answer questions about it and the proposed jail.

“People will be able to come in and see for themselves the condition of the building and the work conditions of it,” he said. “Then they can make a judgment for themselves before they vote.”

Kieliszewski said he has heard comments from people who are questioning the county’s care for the building over the years. He defended the county and the investment it has made to keep the building usable for so long while it has been deteriorating.

“By coming on the tour, they will be able to see what the maintenance department has done to keep it functioning,” Kieliszewski said. “My staff has also done everything it can to keep it operating and functioning the way it needs to.”

Despite the money and work put into the jail, Kieliszewski said there are some issues that can’t be corrected, at least not easily or cost effectively.

He said because of the age of the jail and how old the addition is, many state requirements can’t be met, which results in citations from Michigan Department of Corrections.

People who are interested in taking a tour are encouraged to call Gagnon and set up a time. Kieliszewski said tours will take place from 7-9 p.m.

Before taking the tour residents will show a valid photo ID and they must be at least 18 years old. Purses, cell phones, pocket knives, and guns will not be allowed in the building. Jail tours also may be subject to a background check, searches and restrictions as deemed necessary for the safety and security of the jail. Convicted felons will be unable to take the tour.

The proposed 106 bed jail would be built on M-32 between Sportsmen Drive and Airport Road on county owned property.

For more information contact Gagnon at 354-9835 or email at gagnons@alpenacounty.org

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.