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Commissioner says Calvey jail visit meant to manufacture drama

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'Surprise' jail count angers Oklahoma County sheriff

Kevin Calvey
Kevin Calvey

Days after a fellow county commissioner and several other officials were turned away during an attempted jail inspection, Oklahoma County Commissioner Carrie Blumert said Tuesday morning on Twitter that she didn’t get elected to “manufacture drama.”

Blumert, the commissioner for District 1, said Tuesday that she’s concerned the jail visit organized by District 3 Commissioner Kevin Calvey was designed to do just that.

Calvey showed up at the jail Saturday morning along with 17 others, including District Judge Cindy Truong, saying they wanted to count the inmates being held there. Calvey had heard stories of inmates being held too long in the jail, and he told jail officials he wanted to conduct a head count of his own.

Sheriff P.D. Taylor stopped the group, citing security concerns. Taylor said Calvey and an aide would be allowed into the jail, but not the others.

Blumert said she didn’t learn about Calvey’s visit until after it was over. Much of the public already has a “rocky perception” of the sheriff’s office and county government more broadly, she said, and Saturday’s visit could further damage that perception. She thought the visit amounted to political posturing.

“In my opinion, that’s not what we need to fix our jail and to fix our criminal justice system,” she said.

Board Chairman Brian Maughan said he hadn’t spoken to Calvey about the visit and was unsure what he hoped to accomplish. Any commissioner ought to have access to any county-owned building, including the jail, at any time, said Maughan, who represents District 2. But if a commissioner wants to bring in other visitors, as was the case with Calvey’s visit, it becomes another matter.

“We do community tours all the time where we bring in citizens who are interested in seeing the jail and how it operates,” Maughan said. “But those are scheduled so the sheriff has an opportunity to make sure they have enough staff to assist.”

While he wouldn’t comment on the other commissioners’ reactions, Calvey said he was surprised at the sheriff’s response to his request to tour the jail. The idea for the tour came out of concerns that inmates were being held in the jail longer than they should have been — something that he said should be of concern to all county residents.

Calvey said he still hoped he and his staff could conduct a head count at the jail some other time.

“Transparency is important,” Calvey said. “For me to go in there and do that is entirely appropriate.”

Related Photos
<strong>Carrie Blumert</strong>

Carrie Blumert

<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Carrie Blumert " title=" Carrie Blumert "><figcaption> Carrie Blumert </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Brian Maughan " title=" Brian Maughan "><figcaption> Brian Maughan </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Kevin Calvey " title=" Kevin Calvey "><figcaption> Kevin Calvey </figcaption></figure>
Silas Allen

Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri. Read more ›