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Maricopa County Sheriff's Office: New Intake Facility Will Create Safer, More Efficient Booking Process

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is preparing to open a new intake facility that officials say will be safer and more efficient. 

The Sheriff’s Office books about 100,000 people into jail each year. That’s about 250 to 350 people a day, and a majority of them come through the 4th Avenue Jail.

Inmates are initially given a medical and mental health screening. Chief Brian Lee says it’s the first step in a linear intake process that can keep police officers off the street for a long time.

“It can be anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours," Lee said. "It depends how many people are waiting, how many people they have to book, medical conditions of individuals, a lot of things go into play there.”

The new facility being constructed at 27th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road should allow for faster intake and release times.

Lee said it will operate more like a Department of Motor Vehicles where offenders will sit unrestrained in a central area under the direct supervision of Detention Officers while they go through the booking process.

“Arrestees aren’t handcuffed," Lee said of the direct supervision model. "They’re sitting in an open area and there’s multiple processes going on at the same time. So if the mugshot officer wants to see somebody, if medical wants to see them, they can call them up and they can just get up and walk over to that station.”

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office works with 26 local, state, and federal agencies. Lee said there are currently about 6,800 people in MCSO custody.

Jimmy Jenkins was a producer and senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2014 to 2021.