City officials report jail temporarily closed; no comment from CGPD

January 19 - On Friday, Jan. 13, City Manager Richard Meyers gave an update on the recent closure of the Cottage Grove City Jail, stating that staffing shortages has led to the temporary closure of the CGPD jail.

“The City has made arrangements to ‘rent’ beds at the Springfield jail, so there will be no gap in the City’s ability to appropriately detain alleged violators,” assured Meyers.

The City website describes the Municipal Jail having a total of “eight jail cells used to house persons awaiting arraignment as well as those who have already been sentenced. Each cell can hold two inmates but are most often single occupancy.” The website also notes that the “police dispatcher monitors video and audio feeds from each cell on multiple displays located in the communications center.”

Earlier that Friday, Cottage Grove citizen Duane Taddei tagged The Sentinel in a Facebook post where he alleged four Cottage Grove Police Department employees — one dispatcher and three sergeants — were placed on administrative leave. The Sentinel reached out to City officials for comment.

“As a matter of policy and in compliance with state and federal law, the City of Cottage Grove does not comment on internal administrative matters,” it responded.

As of press time, it’s unknown how long the staff shortage at the city jail will continue, when the outsourcing of those in custody to Springfield will cease, or what the additional costs of transporting and detaining those arrested in Cottage Grove are. In addition, The Sentinel has been unable to substantiate the accusations made in Taddei’s social media post.

According to KNND’s Cameron Reiten, “At the time the jail was closed, there were two prisoners lodged there. One had finished his sentence and was released. The other was also released and will be later appearing in court — which is something that happens routinely,” Reiten noted. “People arrested locally will be temporarily housed at the Springfield jail if they need to remain in custody. Reiten also cited there are five ‘beds’ available at the Springfield jail for those in custody.”

When Reiten asked Assistant City Manager Jake Boone if any staff shortages would make the department unable to provide adequate policing services to the community, Boone said that they would not, also stating that, “If needed, CGPD could seek assistance from other policing agencies.”

On Dec. 21, 2022, the City shared a press release from CGPD, “Exonerating two officers for force used on Sept. 1, 2022, during the arrest of Mr. Harrelson,” and that it was deemed “reasonable and justified under department policy.”

Prior to that on Oct. 5, 2022, were the official resignations of Police Chief Scott Shepherd and Capt. Conrad Gagner, who were both on paid administrative leave since July 2022 stemming from an internal matter.