WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Stopping crime from slipping through the cracks.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office recently completed the largest full-scale search of the County Correctional Facility in the Office’s history.
The initiative searched the facility for illegal and dangerous contraband, according to Jefferson County Sheriff Peter Barnett, and has been something Barnett has been organizing since he took office in January.
“People need to realize that there are some very dangerous people that are incarcerated here,” Sheriff Barnett explained. “People that are in and out of state prisons, this is where they start their criminal career. They leave a county jail and they go to state prison. A lot of them are repeat offenders, they know this facility, and I want to make sure I know it better than them.”
Outside support was given by 36 law enforcement members and six K-9 teams from New York State DOCCS, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the Watertown Police Department.
But Barnett said the main goal of the full-scale search was to maintain safety within the walls of the facility.
“Officer safety is always on my mind,” he said. “As Sheriff, we have an obligation to make sure the facility is safe not only for the staff, but also the incarcerated population.”
This likely won’t be the last time the County Correctional Facility is searched to this magnitude, Barnett added. He plans to launch these searches on a need basis, but also make other safety improvements.
“We’re going to cross-train with law enforcement,” the Sheriff shared. “We’re going to open up training with more close-quarter enforcement. I think morale is good, but again, we have a full training schedule.”
Overall, no contraband will be persecuted and only minor infractions came out of the recent search. Sheriff Barnett attributed this outcome to the correctional officers.
“I’m very pleased at the effort and the job that our correctional facility does around the clock here. I’m very proud of them,” Barnett stated.
Original photos from the search can be viewed on the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s social media.