Jail exterior

The Gage County Detention Center was built in 1977 and was constructed to hold a total of 31 inmates. The building also houses the sheriff’s office.

The Gage County Sheriff’s Office and detention center are staying busy with calls for service and arrests.

The figures for the third quarter of the fiscal year were presented at Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, where Sheriff Millard “Gus” Gustafson said the department is continuing the war on drugs in the area.

According to information from the detention center, last quarter there were 157 felony bookings in the jail, up from 123 the previous quarter and 106 the first quarter.

Misdemeanor arrests were down with 118 in the third quarter compared to 126 and 130 in the first and second quarters, respectively.

The arrest totals account for inmates brought in by four different agencies. In the latest quarter, the sheriff’s office was associated with 108 bookings, Beatrice Police were responsible for 131 bookings, the State Patrol had seven and the Wymore Police Department had one.

Gustafson said the battle with drugs continues, and that arrests for other offenses are often drug related, such as when an offender commits burglary to fund his or her addiction.

“It goes through cycles,” he said. “I’ve heard heroin is coming back again. It always starts on the coast and in about a year it gets to the Midwest.”

He added a deputy has been focusing on drug investigations when not on road patrol and the department would like to devote more time to drug investigations. The department also works closely with other law enforcement organizations in the area, which Gustafson said has also been successful.

“They just had an arrest on a search warrant last week that returned quite a bit of drugs and quite a bit of cash,” he said. “I think it’s making a dent, but again to do things like that costs money.”

Success stories of getting drug offenders off the streets have come with their own set of problems, however, as the jail is over capacity.

The department regularly has 24-33 inmates housed in other counties due to not having enough beds in Gage County.

In the first three quarters of the fiscal year nearly $210,000 has been spent to house inmates in other jails.

Board member Gary Lytle expressed frustration at what the figure will likely be by the end of the fiscal year.

“As you look through three quarters where we’re at money-wise on outside holds, not sure where we’re at for outside holds for this quarter, but it’s going to be real close to $300,000 on the year,” he said.

Transporting inmates to and from other counties for hearings is also a burden for the department, which has logged 24,694 miles for inmate transports in the first three quarters of the year.

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