TAYLORVILLE, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp asked the Taylorville fire department to come by and perform an inspection on the county jail.
What the inspection found caught them off guard.
“Was it common for us to find that me violations that?” Fire Chief Matthew Adermann said. “I would say no, no.”
The Christian County jail, which also houses the sheriff’s office and the 9-1-1 call center for Christian and Shelby counties — resoundingly failed the inspection. In total, there were over 25 violations.
“Bottom line, its mine,” Kettelkamp said. “It is on me, you know, I’m the head guy.”
Adermann wrote in the report “as the jail sits currently, it is not permitted (by life safety code) to be operated as a detention facility”
“We are addressing them, we’ve corrected some of the issues, and we’re just looking ways of funding,” Kettelkamp said.
The report outlined every issue. Some were quick fixes, like missing ceiling tiles or documents being stored improperly.
Others were much more serious. The fire department found that there was multiple wiring issues, including exposed wiring, and extension cords and power strips being used for permanent wiring. The department also reported that there were not enough exits on each of the building. The jail is also well over capacity it was originally built for. The fire department will reinspect the jail on Wednesday.
“I spoke with the sheriff today, and they are already on fixing a lot of these issues,” Adermann said. “Some of the questions on the structural issues that were there, as far as the classification of the building could be fixed. And they’ll probably take a little more time.”
Kettelkamp has been the sheriff since 2010. He tried to pass a new tax in 2021 to pay for a new jail, but the measure failed. The jail also holds federal detainees, too, which results in the county getting a paycheck from the federal government,
“I’m not going to put my employees or the inmates endanger their lives in danger. I’m not going to do that.” Kettelkamp said. “Do I feel like it’s safe for them to stay right here? Yes, I do. Are we up to code? No, we’re not.”