Individuals arrested in a city of Brookhaven would likely be housed at the DeKalb County Jail at I-285 and Memorial Drive, a location between 10-20 miles from the city’s proposed boundaries.
But discussions have arisen at various cityhood meetings that suggest a regional detention facility in partnership with nearby cities could be a possibility in a few years.
The DeKalb Sheriff’s Department administers the county jail, and as city of Brookhaven would not assume any of the sheriff’s department services, including its nationally recognized Fugitive Squad.
“If taxpayers’ money would be saved by partnering with some neighboring cities to house inmates at one of their facilities or a regional facility, that is something that would merit a lot of consideration,” said J. Max Davis, chairman of BrookhavenYES. “But saving taxpayer money would be the only motivation.”
The Carl Vinson Institute Brookhaven Feasiblity Study was completed under the assumption that a Brookhaven city would continue to use the DeKalb jail to house its prisoners. The study also said that only individuals awaiting sentence by a Brookhaven municipal court would need to be housed in the DeKalb jail.
DeKalb’s jail was completed in 1995, according to the Sheriff’s Department public information office, and spans 940,000 square feet. At normal capacity, it can house 3,736 inmates, and could expand to accommodate as many as 3,900 individuals.
The county jail can receive any person arrested in DeKalb on any state, county or city charge. The city of Dunwoody has no jail, and currently transports its arrestees to DeKalb’s facility.
Chamblee, however, does have its own jail, with 26 beds. It is classified as a short-term detention center, meaning it cannot house inmates for extended periods of time or sentences. Those inmates are transported to the DeKalb jail.
Doraville also has its own temporary jail, which not only houses persons arrested in the city, but also those from Sandy Springs and Johns Creek. The facility has 52 beds and five holding cells. Individuals who need to be incarcerated for longer periods are also taken to DeKalb’s facility.
The population of Sandy Springs (93,853) and Johns Creek (76,728) are both greater than a city of Brookhaven's estimated population of 49,188.
Davis said neighboring mayors “are excited about the possibility of a city of Brookhaven, not only to discuss regional detention facilities but other cooperative collaborations as well. Maybe down the road we could discuss ways of expanding the Chamblee or Doraville detention facilities in a cost-effective way, that could save Brookhaven some taxpayer dollars by reducing the mileage needed to drive to the DeKalb jail.
“It’s nice to know that other cities are excited about these possible opportunities.”