The College Station City Council and the Brazos County Commissioners Court have both unanimously approved an agreement that will bring all people arrested and booked by College Station Police Department personnel to the Brazos County Jail.
“The agreement is primarily for municipal court prisoners, and it just means that they’ll be able to book all of their prisoners directly at the [county] jail,” Brazos County Jail Administrator Wayne Dicky said Tuesday following the commissioners’ vote.
The move comes in advance of the police department’s new facility, scheduled to open sometime in 2020. The approximately 74,650-square-foot building at the southeast corner of Krenek Tap Road and Dartmouth Street will not include a holding facility, according to Assistant Chief Chuck Fleeger.
College Station will pay the county $55 per prisoner per day. According to the city council’s June 13 agenda, the estimated cost for the city is no more than $50,000 per fiscal year.
“I really don’t see a financial impact or a burden placed on the citizens at all,” Fleeger said Tuesday. He said that the department, which already sends those accused of major offenses to the county jail, has experimented with the new plan “and found no negative impacts at all.”
Fleeger said a timetable for the full transition of transporting all arrests to the county jail is currently unclear. Google Maps indicates a drive time of about 14 minutes from the new police facility to the county jail on Sandy Point Road in Bryan. Officers would be transporting those arrested directly from the site of arrest.
The original plan for College Station’s new police facility included a holding space, according to Fleeger. In July 2017, he said, the decision was made to build the new facility without holding capabilities.
Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk said that College Station reached out to his office to put the then-potential agreement in motion.
Both Kirk and Dicky anticipated the shift would have a minimal impact on the county jail population, which was at 665 people as of Tuesday morning — 560 men and 105 women.
“They’re committed to making the change, and we’re working with them to make it as efficient as we can,” Kirk said.
State law mandates that the local sheriff’s office “accept and house” all arrests from agencies within the county that are a Class B Misdemeanor and above. The agreement both parties have signed this month adds those who are charged and arrested for Class C misdemeanors.
Class C misdemeanors include alcoholic beverage code and transportation code violations, as well as city ordinance arrests.
The current police department facility includes 17 beds and is a temporary prisoner holding location before transportation to the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office. During the June 13 meeting, Fleeger told the council that the holding facility has 11 staff members, including one supervisor and 10 detention officers.
“When this decision was made to move and not have a holding facility, the first thing we did was we met directly with existing staff,” Fleeger said on June 13. He said Tuesday afternoon that the plan is to shift those officers’ roles but strive to maintain their employment on staff.
College Station Municipal Court Judge Ed Spillane said Tuesday afternoon that he anticipated that the change “won’t be that different” for his court’s proceedings. He estimated that about 10 people per week were arrested on Class C charges, with many of those happening on weekends.
Spillane explained that, with the exception of public intoxication and many Class C assault family violence charges, the city’s justice system is not looking to imprison people for Class C offenses for any length of time.
“Our marshals, we still may have warrants out there, but if they arrest someone, they’re going to bring them to court and give them a chance to take care of the case,” Spillane said. “We’re not going to be taking people to the county jail just to book them in and book them out. We really want people to come to court.”