The Sentinel and Enterprise reported that Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian will pursue the creation of a regional lockup facility for cities and towns within the county, despite Gov. Deval Patrick vetoing $1.5 million in state funding for the facility's construction.
Koutoujian requested that his office carry over the $1.5 million remaining in supplemental funding it received last year into the new fiscal year, the Sentinel and Enterprise reported. That funding was included in a $40 million supplemental budget bill, but vetoed by Patrick before he signed the bill.
In a press release sent Aug. 14, the Middlesex Sheriff's Office announced that it had reached an agreement with the state Administration and Finance Office to use capital expenditures to fund the $1.5 million project that would create a regional lockup facility through the renovation of a wing of the Billerica House of Corrections.
"Securing funding for the regional holding facility was a team effort that included every police chief in Middlesex County," Koutoujian ssaid in the press release. "A regional lockup will help save local departments money and allow them to take officers off prisoner watch and put them on community watch.”
The Sentinel and Enterprise reported that police chiefs from all 54 cities and towns in Middlesex County wrote a letter to legislators in support of Koutoujian's request.
The regional lockup facility—created through the renovation of a wing of the Billerica House of Corrections—would help local police departments hold people who were arrested and did not make bail until their arraignment, which isn't until the next business day if the person was arrested at night or over the weekend, according to the Sentinel and Enterprise. Holding those detainees at the local station requires manpower at the station instead of on the street.