Tennessee Corrections Institute recertified the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center Wednesday, a goal Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh pledged to fulfill when he was voted sheriff Jan. 12 by the Rutherford County Commission.
"Since taking office, we have worked very diligently in achieving that goal," Fitzhugh said.
TCI decertified the Detention Center last year after finding deficiencies in staffing, the physical plant, policies and programs. The decertification increased potential liability issues and lawsuits.
When he became sheriff, Fitzhugh hired former Correctional Work Center Superintendent Bernard Salandy to serve as Deputy Chief and former Juvenile Detention Sgt. Chris Fly to become captain at the Detention Center. Salandy and Fly coordinated with the entire Detention Center staff to achieve recertification.
The Detention staff worked diligently to change policies and procedures and brought the standards up to a level of compliance, the sheriff said.
"As with any worthy goal, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication by the men and women at the Sheriff's Office to achieve this accomplishment," Fitzhugh said. "I am extremely proud of all of our employees' efforts to bring the Detention Center back into compliance."
The sheriff thanked Mayor Ernest Burgess and the County Commission for staffing additional employees in booking and the detention center to support the recertification.
Fitzhugh, Salandy and Fly thanked the TCI staff for the technical assistance in regaining certification in the 14 areas of jail inspections listed in the minimum standards.
"Without their help and expertise, the job would have been much harder," Fitzhugh said.
Fly said the TCI staff provided many recommendations the staff incorporated.
"We look forward to working closely with TCI in the future and to maintain and continue to exceed their expectations in the future," Fly said.
"I would to thank the employees within the Detention Division for their commitment and dedication in obtaining the recertification," Fly said. "They stepped up in a time of need to reestablish the credibility of the Jail to the citizens of Rutherford County."
Salandy said he was grateful for the recertification.
He thanked the team of Detention Center deputies who implemented the standards, patrol deputies who supported them, detectives who conducted background checks on new employees, communications who checked mandatory criminal histories on the inmates and the maintenance deputies who detached, re-attached and mounted more than 400 beds into bunk beds to create more required space in the cells.
"The staff is buying into and enforcing our policies," Salandy said. "There are some highly motivated people working here. We are striving to be the best facility in the state."