Nowata County Sheriff Terry Sue Barnett tendered her resignation on Monday after a judge mandated her to reopen the county jail after high levels of carbon monoxide sent four of her employees to the emergency room last month.
…Twelve members of the Nowata County Sheriff’s Office staff, including deputies and civilian employees, resigned with Barnett on Monday. Even the K-9 officer, Ranger, quit and signed his resignation letter with a paw print, Barnett said.
The sheriff’s office said five people currently remain on the staff with dispatchers sourcing 911 calls and delegating them to stations nearby.
…In the resignation letter, Barnett also detailed other dangerous conditions in the “inadequately budgeted” jail, including exposed wires in the shower areas that have shocked inmates, mold throughout the jail and offices, and “improper” plumbing that often causes methane gas to permeate the jail.
…Judge Gibson declared Barnett’s resignation “void” on Tuesday, but the sheriff said that is not within his right.
“I do not work for the judge. The judge is an elected official. I am also an elected official,” Barnett told reporters. “I do not believe we live in a country where we can be ordered to go to work when I have already tendered my resignation.”
…”The Nowata County Jail is a ticking time bomb of constitutional liability,” DeMuro said in a statement. “If the county thinks it has budget problems now, it better wake up because somebody is going to die in that jail.”