SUPERIOR — Mineral County is without its only jail again.
Less than a year after reopening following a four-month shutdown, the jail has been shuttered temporarily for lack of detention officers.
“The sheriff and jail administrator came in last Friday to say that one jailer quit because his wife got a good job in Idaho and they are moving,” county Commissioner Roman Zylawy said in an email Thursday. “Another jailer simply quit. So with another jailer needing time off for a new baby, and another leaving for detention officer academy in Helena, we wouldn’t really have enough to operate plus train the two new hires to replace the two leaving.”
The creation of a jail administrator's post was one of the stipulations for reopening the Superior jail last March. Roni Phillips was appointed for the job. The closure began in October 2017 after three jailers quit at around the same time. Sheriff Tom Bauer resigned amid the disruption and was replaced by Undersheriff Mike Boone, who ran unopposed for sheriff in November.
Zylawy said Phillips requested a temporary closure last week until the hiring process and training could be completed. Boone and County Attorney Ellen Donohue concurred. Zylawy said he and fellow Commissioner Laurie Johnston voted to accept the recommendation to temporarily close the jail. Commissioner Duane Simons was absent.
“They estimated by April 30 the academy would be done and the new jailers would be vetted and hired, so then (we could) re-open with a full complement of detention officers,” Zylawy said.
He said the dispatch office is fully staffed, as is the sheriff’s department with a sheriff, undersheriff and four deputies. The county had hoped to beef up the latter with a Community Oriented Policing Services grant through the U.S. Department of Justice.
“We applied for a fifth (deputy) using the COPS grant but the process has been stalled at the federal level due to some lawsuit challenging the awarding of the grants,” Zylawy said.
When the jail closed previously, inmates were transferred to the Sanders County Jail.