Fayette County jail remains closed following plumbing, electrical issues

FAYETTE COUNTY, TN (WMC) - Fayette County Criminal Justice Complex is running on generators and power cords as deputies and dispatchers head into a busy holiday weekend.

The power has been out all week, and the repairs are more significant than first thought.

It could be late next week before the sheriff's office gets the building back.

"We don't have any air conditioners; we don't have any lights," said Fayette County Sheriff Bobby Riles.

The issues with the 12-year-old building started Sunday morning when crews found a water leak. While repairing that, they hit power lines.

Electricians must now re-wire, and it isn't a quick fix.

Even if they're done by Wednesday or Thursday, Sheriff Riles said it would still be days before full operations are restored.

"We'll have to power everything back up," Sheriff Riles said. "So we're probably looking at three more days after that, maybe Saturday or Sunday."

Sheriff Riles said deputies are working from substations and this mobile command unit.

Dispatch is back up and running from inside the building with generators powering the area, running computers, fans, and portable air conditioning.

If arrests are made, deputies have to coordinate with neighboring counties on how to pick up the prisoners.

Seven neighboring counties are assisting by housing roughly 175 inmates, but that will likely impact Fayette County's bottom line.

"These counties that are housing our state inmates will collect that from the state but there's a good possibility they will charge us on our misdemeanors so much a day," Sheriff Riles said.

Sheriff Riles said the water leak cost roughly $6,000 to fix, and the electric work is estimated to be at least $82,000. That money will have to come out of an emergency fund.

Most court cases have been postponed, but the sheriff said they have been holding some arraignments that must take place at the old courthouse on the square in Somerville.

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