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Del City considering legal action against jail

By Lea Terry
Midwest City Beacon

As Oklahoma County Commissioners get closer to choosing a site for the new Oklahoma County Jail, Del City is stepping up its efforts to fight against the new location being situated near Del City limits.

For several months, city staff, officials and residents have attended Oklahoma County Commissioner meetings, spoken directly to Commissioners and started petitions to make it clear they oppose 1901 E. Grand Blvd. as the new jail site. At a special session of the City of Del City City Council on Feb. 8, the council approved setting aside funds to launch a legal fight against Oklahoma County should commissioners select the Grand Blvd. location for the new jail complex.

As Ward 1 Councilperson Michael Dean led the invocation at the beginning of the meeting, he brought up the story of David and Goliath in reference to the city’s fight against the county, a theme that ran through the meeting.

Among the concerns brought up at the meeting were the proposed site’s proximity to Crooked Oak Schools as well as nearby Trosper Park. City officials and residents were also worried about logistics, including a lack of public transportation for inmates being released from the jail and the need for additional security nearby. Some, like Del City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

Josh Schultz, felt that responsibility will ultimately fall to Del City.

“Oklahoma City has proven they are incapable of monitoring their areas which surround Del City already, which means we would have to take care of that area ourselves, because we would be the nearest to respond,” Schultz said. “This would put a strain on our police force, our fire department, and our ambulance services.”

Both council members and residents noted that the Grand Blvd. location has repeatedly been removed from consideration and brought back, and that they feel the county has a pattern of using the area without consideration of the city or nearby residents. Attendees pointed to everything from the animal shelter being located there to Hamilton Courts, a public housing apartment complex that ultimately failed.

“This area is kind of their dumping ground for what they don’t want to see, and at times we’re getting treated like cockroaches and stepped on and pushed away,” said Ward 2 Councilperson Claudia Browne. “When you look back into the history, it’s clear as day that they do not care about that area.”

Everyone who spoke at the meeting stressed that they were prepared to do whatever it takes to keep the jail from being relocated to the Grand Blvd. location.

“Our 25,000 people here in Del City are about to take on the 800,000 that’s in Oklahoma County,” Councilperson Dean said. “We’re trying to make sure we don’t waste taxpayer dollars. They built a horrible jail that was doomed from the beginning 35 years ago in Oklahoma City, and they’re planning to go and do this again here.”


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