BRADLEY JUSTICE CENTER
* Completed April, 2004
* Size 160,000 square feet
* Construction cost $16 million
* Houses sheriff’s administration, courts and jail
Source: Bradley County Sheriff’s Office
CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Nearly five years after it opened, the Bradley County Justice Center is showing some wear and tear.
Capt. Jim Hodgson, chief deputy for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, asked members of the county finance committee recently to amend the budget so money and move money into a fund for maintenance and custodial care.
“We are not like most office buildings,” Capt. Hodgson said. “We are open 24/7 and 365 and the people we have in jail are not the most careful clientele.”
He said warranties are expiring on some equipment installed when the jail opened in 2004.
Over the past months there have been some large maintenance projects, including to the heating and air conditioning system and a backup generator, he said.
The department also made bulk purchases of many supplies early in the fiscal year, he said, to take advantage of lower prices.
That includes lemon disinfectant that is approved by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and used periodically in cells when prisoners move out.
The large purchase of lemon-scented cleaner raised eyebrows among committee members.
Capt. Hodgson said that is done to protect the county from one form of inmate lawsuit.
“We don’t want to run the old jail again,” Capt. Hodgson said. “We want to stay on top of these issues.”
The former Bradley County Jail was in a bad state of repair and had not been state certified for years when the move was made to the new justice center.
Committee Chairman Ed Elkins said, “I agree we don’t want the justice center to get in the same shape as the old one.”
He said he and other committee members had raised questions not only about the amounts but which line items were indicated in the sheriff’s budget requests.
“You think of maintenance as different from custodial supplies,” he said. “It looks like we haven’t been consistent where we charge custodial supplies.”
When those kinds of discrepancies are corrected, they affect other areas of the sheriff’s budget, Mr. Elkins said.
The committee also was concerned about state retirement accounts. Capt. Hodgson said he would get answers to those concerns.
“You are preaching to the choir,” said Capt. Hodgson, to only took over budget duties a few months ago.
Capt. Hodgson said to expect more comparison shopping by the department in months to come in order to maximize its limited purchasing power.
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...