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SHERIFF DRAWS CRITICISM FOR LACK OF MAKESHIFT JAIL

When inmates are crammed into a small jail, fighting often breaks out.

But not necessarily among the inmates.An angry Salt Lake County Commission Wednesday criticized Salt Lake County Sheriff Aaron Kennard for not having a makeshift jail ready, ordering him to reconsider an empty Fred Meyer store at 900 S. State.

Kennard, in turn, is relying on a new bracelet monitoring program to free up 50 beds in the county jail beginning July 1. The state gave the county $75,000 to buy 50 bracelets for convicted felons and misdemeanants.

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Dean Carr said those guilty of domestic violence, property crimes and drunken driving would be ideal candidates for the bracelet program.

The convicted criminals would be sentenced to home confinement and required to wear the electronic bracelet. The sheriff's department is promptly notified if the criminal leaves his home or tries to remove the bracelet, Carr said.

This is the first time the county has used the bracelet monitoring program on those convicted of a crime, Kennard said.

In the case of domestic violence, the criminal would be required to stay away from his home and victim.

Salt Lake County Commissioner Mary Callaghan verbally lashed Kennard during a county staff meeting, reiterating criticisms Salt Lake County Commissioner Brent Overson publicly leveled against Kennard last week.

The commissioners blame Kennard for not having a makeshift jail ready for the summer's crime wave. Overson last spring said he would like to see a jail in the empty Fred Meyer store. Kennard rejected the site, saying it would cost nearly $1 million to turn the building into a jail then run it.

"We'll revisit it," Kennard said after the meeting with Overson and Callaghan.

Kennard last week wanted to rent a 30,000-square-foot warehouse a private contractor offered to build near the Oxbow Jail. But contractor Bruce Alder needs five months to get the warehouse up, Kennard said Wednesday. Alder originally thought he could have it done by early August.

The county continues to talk with Utah County officials about using space in the county's near 500-bed jail in Spanish Fork. But that space won't be available until the first of the year, Kennard said.

He promised an estimated cost and time line on the Fred Meyer store by Wednesday.