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Oklahoma County Jail Trust Elects New Chair, Passes Resolution To Limit Public Comment

 Oklahoma County Jail
Ryan LaCroix
Oklahoma County Jail

The Oklahoma County jail trust elected trustee Jim Couch to be its new chair on Monday. The trust also welcomed former Oklahoma Department of Corrections chief Joe Allbaugh into its membership and passed a resolution that limits public comment in meetings.

Jim Couch is the former city manager of Oklahoma City. He said in the jail trust’s meeting that he hopes to continue improving the county’s jail and make it more humane.

The trust came under fire this year for a rash of detainee deaths that began shortly after the trust took over supervision of the county jail.

Joe Allbaugh, the former head of the state’s Department of Corrections, sat in on his first meeting as the trust’s newest member. He is replacing Tricia Everest who resigned her seat to serve as Gov. Kevin Stitt’s new secretary of public safety.

Allbaugh joined most of the trust in approving a resolution that limits members of the public to voicing their opinions for only three minutes at the beginning of each meeting.

The trust’s chair, vice chair or presiding officer are allowed to have anyone who violates the rules or breaks the law during the meeting removed.

The resolution also gives the chair, vice chair or presiding officer authority to appoint a sergeant at arms, or to serve in that capacity themselves.

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Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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