The Alameda City Jail is now closed.
The last inmates left on June 25, headed for their Monday morning court appearances. The city's six remaining jailers worked their last day Thursday, June 28, a day given over largely to filling out paperwork (although they are being paid for another few weeks).
"It's kind of a sad day, because we're losing valued employees," Capt. David Boersma said Thursday. As the head of the 's service division, it's been his job to oversee jail operations.
The Alameda City Council decided this spring to close the jail and lay off its staff of eight jailers as a cost-cutting measure. Only six of the jailer positions were currently filled. On those six, one person is in line to be hired as a sheriff's deputy, and four are testing for jailer positions in San Leandro, Boersma said.
Police officers will now book arrested persons into the Glenn E. Dyer Detention Facility in downtown Oakland (known familiarly as "North County") or, if the prisoner has a medical issue, into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. Both facilities are operated by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.
The change shouldn't have a huge impact on police officers' time, Boersma said. In fact, for officers working in Alameda's West End, it may be quicker to deliver suspects to North County than it was to drive to the city jail.
The jail itself, housed on an upper floor of the Alameda Police Department building at 1555 Oak St., was something of an afterthought, Boersma said. When that building was constructed in 1978, it included only a small holding facility, and Alameda contracted with the Oakland Police Department for jail services. (Before 1978, Alameda had a small holding facility in the basement of City Hall.)
Alameda added its larger jail in 1991, moving the department's detectives to a different floor to make room for a 20-bed detention facility. There's overflow space for an additional eight prisoners, although the jail has rarely reached its full capacity, Boersma said.
The city jail was never a long-term facility, Boersma said. It housed prisoners (male and female) between booking and their first court appearances. The maximum stay was about four days, for those arrested just before a weekend.
Fortunately, Boersma said, the local jail never had an in-custody death, a prisoner suicide or an escape in its two-decade history.
"The public hopefully won't notice any impact from the closure," Boersma said.
Anyone seeking information about an arrested person's custody status, court date, bail amount or similar information should now call the Glenn E. Dyer Detention Facility at 510-268-7777 or the Santa Rita Jail at 925-551-6500.
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