In Feb. 17 IssueBy John ThompsonTimes Journal Reporter
Hundreds gathered on Friday to witness a ribbon cutting ceremony and enjoy an open house at Russell County's new detention center.
As the crowd gathered, leaders prepared to speak at what was an historic event for Russell County. Billy Dunbar, brother of new Jailer Bobby Dunbar led the crowd in opening prayer before introducing Judge-Executive Gary Robertson to say a few words.
Robertson thanked everyone for attending while recognizing the architectural team of Brandstettor Carroll, the construction team of Branscum Construction, and local political leaders, as well as former Judge-Executive Mickey Garner, for their efforts in getting the project going and the support in seeing through to the end.
Branscum Construction Company owner, CEO and President Steve Branscum was then introduced to say a few words.
Branscum thanked county officials for having the confidence in his team to build the new facility. After saying they have had a lot of opportunities to build many facilities, Branscum said "I'm certainly glad we build a lot more educational facilities than we do detention facilities," Branscum would continue that "This is certainly a landmark facility for Russell County. Not necessarily for its architectural beauty… it is one of the most state of the art facilities of its kind."
Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Corrections Rodney Ballard gave a brief history of the progression of the jail from the old jail "which was crumbling around you," to the new facility.
Beyond thanking Judge-Executives Robertson and Garner, and the magistrates of the fiscal court, he spoke of the dedication he saw in our elected Jailer Bobby Dunbar and the enthusiasm in which he kept in touch with him throughout his brief time in office.
Jailer Bobby Dunbar was the final speaker before the invocation.
"Thanks to the people of Russell County for electing me as the jailer, for showing your confidence in me as the Russell County Jailer." Dunbar said. "I've put together a staff that I'm very proud of. They have worked and labored very hard. I feel myself, the verdict is still out on myself and the staff, but I feel that we've put together a staff that is second to none."
Billy Dunbar acknowledged the absence of State Sen. Vernie McGaha and State Rep. Jeff Hoover.
"They are both in Frankfurt on duty, representing us as our legislators," he said.
After the detention center dedication, everyone filed outside to conduct the ribbon cutting.
Deputy jailers were stationed throughout the facility and conducted impromptu tours of the different features of the new jail for the hundreds of interested visitors as they enjoyed provided refreshments.
Barring unforeseen obstacles, the jail is expected to accept its first prisoners at the time of this newspapers release, Wednesday morning, February 16, 2011.