Lawton Mayor speaks out on Public Safety Facility committee

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The third committee discussing changes to Lawton's Public Safety Facility met on Friday night. Mayor Fred Fitch has spoken out on the changes proposed during these meetings.

The committee is racing against time to put together their recommendation by next Tuesday's special council meeting.

The committee is the creation of councilman Caleb Davis. Councilmen Jay Burk, Sean Fortenbaugh and Randy Warren are also on the committee. They are looking into cutting costs for the Public Safety Facility, and Davis is specially looking into reducing the jail size and removing Fire Station One.

The Mayor feels Councilman Davis is wasting time and money looking into changes on a project that is already well underway.

"You don't build something in a city like this, or any building, for today only," Fitch said. "You don't do it. You're building to have use of that facility or use of a home or whatever for the future. And in this case a police station, a jail and a fire station, we need to get 40-50 years out of it."

The Mayor said changing any parts of the Public Safety Facility plan that took years and millions to create could cost the tax payers more to change.

The Mayor's full statement:

I am very concerned for the plans to move the fire station back to the Central station location because of the cost that we have in the project to date for locating in the new Public Safety which amount to couple million dollars. Those would be thrown down the drain of which is taxpayers dollars. The costs associated with moving to the Central station location we will inflect an increase in those costs of about three million dollars and then we have the cost of building. The county has stated the American National Bank building is not for sale creating land lock and not building a facility that is required for the 40-50 years in the future. Don't build for today but for the future. Downsizing the jail to 20 holding cells will not be adequate for the law change of making possession of dangerous drugs a misdemeanor which will throw those back to the city for court and sentencing for jail time. DUI will come to the cities responsibility from the county and become the cities problem for trial, sentencing, and jail time or pay a much larger fine of which those dollars will come to the city. The travel expense of transportation to move offenders back and forth from outsourcing the jail will go on forever and takes two officers to transport which takes them off our streets. If the jail is downsized to 20 holding cells this will not gets us very far into the future. With the state needs for bed space in the state level this will push these prisoners back to the county and the city. CCDC is overcrowded now and won't be able to take anymore prisoners. I don't like like jailing people anymore than anyone else but these are the facts and future process. We need to build to provide for it. Call your council person and tell them to drop this Councilman Davis pet project and lets move on to build this city Public Safety building as the citizens voted to increase the citizens safety.

We will be reporting on the special meeting coming up next Tuesday, and on the final recommendation of this committee.

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