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Oklahoma County Jail Trust selects Brandi Gardner as new CEO

The Oklahoma County Detention Center in west downtown Oklahoma City, Okla.
Ryan LaCroix
The Oklahoma County Detention Center in west downtown Oklahoma City, Okla.

The Oklahoma County Jail Trust has selected a new CEO.

Brandi Gardner, who has served as the jail trust’s interim CEO since last December, was chosen to take on the position permanently earlier this week.

She succeeds Greg Williams, who resigned in December amid safety and health concerns about the Oklahoma County Jail, including many inmate deaths at the facility. Forty-three inmates have died since the trust took control of the jail in 2020 — seven of which died since Gardner became interim CEO.

This comes after a multi-county grand jury released a report in March which cited issues with the administration as the main causes of inmate deaths. The report also recommended the jail trust dissolve and return control of the jail to the county sheriff.

The report cited "inadequate staffing, funding, surveillance and training, coupled with poor law enforcement protocols" for the string of deaths, and blamed Williams for not taking steps to address those problems.

Specifically, grand jurors pointed to a "horrific" "predominance of opioids" in the jail, as well as poor health screening in the booking process and failure to check on inmates regularly. The report also revealed that members of organized criminal gangs have been hired as detention officers due to poor background checks. The gang members helped smuggle drugs into the jail.

Last summer, Oklahoma County voters approved a $260 million bond package to build a new jail. The current jail has seen repeated health and safety violations in recent years.

Hannah France is a reporter and producer for KGOU.
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