ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — On Tuesday, the Allen County Commissioners announced they’ve narrowed their possible new jail locations down to four.

The commissioners were originally looking at eight locations prior to taking four off the list because they were “not viable,” a release said.

The potential locations have not been identified by the commissioners, other than the original sheriff’s training ground at Adams Center and East Paulding roads — which has received public scrutiny — and a property at 2911 Meyer Road.

It’s not known if the property on Meyer Road is still being considered.

In early October, Commissioner Rich Beck told WANE 15 they had been looking at eight sites, and all eight had failed at some point in time. He attributed one possible failure to the price of the property.

“And that’s why you don’t talk about these things, because if we were to release where we were looking, you’re going to upset a whole lot of people, and unnecessarily because that deal may fall apart,” Beck said. “So, if we had released all eight of those locations, they’re all going to be upset and there’s no point in upsetting people until you really know where you’re going to go.”

The chief of staff for the commissioners, Chris Cloud, told WANE 15 via email that they wouldn’t be releasing the locations for the following reasons:

  • Regarding the four that have been taken off the list, pursuant to Indiana Code 5-14-3-4 (b) (6), which makes an exception to access to public records for “Records that are intra-agency or interagency advisory or deliberative material, including material developed by a private contractor under a contract with a public agency, that are expressions of opinion or are of a speculative nature, and that are communicated for the purpose of decision making.”
  • Regarding the four that are still on the list for vetting, pursuant to IC 5-14-3-4(b)(12), which makes an exception to access to public records for “Records specifically prepared for discussion or developed during discussion in an executive session.”  As the properties are being explored for a real estate transaction/purchase that will ultimately be discussed in executive session, the documents are exempted from public disclosure at this time.

“We understand there is great public interest in this and will continue to evaluate when it is most appropriate to discuss possible locations,” Cloud added.

WANE 15 wanted to find out whether other county officials are part of the process or if the only people who know where a new jail might be built are the three commissioners and architects from Elevatus Architecture who inspect potential sites.

Do members of the Allen County Council know where they’re looking? Does Sheriff David Gladieux know where a new jail might be built?

On Wednesday, WANE 15 reached out to all three commissioners, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, and four Allen County Council members.

Messages left for all three commissioners were returned later in the day by the Board of Commissioners public information officer Emily Almodovar.

Almodovar referred to Cloud’s email, and added the commissioners want to keep discussions regarding potential property purchases private in order to protect their purchase and the seller if it weren’t to work out.

She added that the commissioners are all working very hard to find a property for a new jail.

An email sent to Captain Steve Stone, the public information officer for the sheriff’s department, was not returned by the time of this report.

County council members Sheila R. Curry-Campbell, Tom Harris, and Chris Spurr did not return emails either, but Kyle Kerley did.

Kerley told WANE 15 that council has not been a part of the process in finding a new jail location and that he wasn’t aware of any sites other than what has already been disclosed publicly.

According to Kerley, county council wouldn’t be involved unless the commissioners choose a property that isn’t already owned by the county.

In that case, the council would have to vote to approve the purchase. He said it would most likely be paid for with General Funds or the Commissioners LIT Fund depending on the price.

According to the Indiana State Board of Accounts, for Allen County to purchase a property, at least two appraisals must be obtained and the county can’t pay more than the average of the two highest appraisals.

Commissioner Beck previously told WANE 15 they intend to have a purchase agreement in place by a December deadline set by federal judge Damon R. Leichty.

Once a property is selected, a new jail is expected to cost $300-$350 million.