March 21, 2019

She said the judge offered her a pay raise and a vacation if she'd move the prisoners back into the unrepaired facility. Via

Sheriff Barnett resigned effective at 11 am, two hours after the judge’s order. She said she had not considered resigning until a meeting with the judge last Thursday when she says he suggested the prisoners be moved back into the jail to save money. Last month, Nowata County transferred 14 prisoners to Washington County after the jail was evacuated. The now-former Undersheriff, Mark Kirschner, said today it was actually cheaper to house the small number of prisoners elsewhere than to operate the jail.

Barnett was elected and took office five months ago, but today was spent packing boxes to leave. “I guess Nowata County will continue their search for a sheriff who will do what they want because I am not that sheriff,” said Barnett. “To have a judge order you to bring inmates back to that facility when nothing has been done is inexcusable.”

The Undersheriff, five deputies, the head dispatcher, the jailers, and even the K-9, “Ranger” quit. His handler worked to get a paw print on a resignation letter. Several volunteer dispatchers said they plan to stay and answer the phones, though the office is otherwise empty. The Sheriff said she leaves with her honor intact. “I will not sweep things under the rug for Nowata County, I am not going to do the wrong thing,” she said.

Looks like this jail has been subpar for a while. There's no sprinkler system in the building, and continuing plumbing problems.

A previous sheriff was jailed for embezzlement last year. He solicited school supplies from a local WalMart for local schools, but gavethe items out at the sheriff's booth at a local fair.


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