MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. - Since Sheriff Phil Sims took office in January, he's been making changes to the Marshall County Jail with a goal to make it safer for the incarcerated.
"On the outside of the building we've put up new metal and Constantine wire to keep stuff from coming in to cut down on contraband," said Sheriff Sims.
The sheriff's office also installed more than 40 new cameras inside and around the jail.
Sims says his deputies now have uniform guns, new tasers and they plan to have new bulletproof vests in the next month for the deputies.
"We've already measured everyone for the vests so we're planning to make that order soon," explained Sims.
He says even though he's glad they've got these new additions, they have bigger plans for the future.
"We're going to spend about $502,000 redoing cell blocks, cell doors, some structural damage that occurred over the years," said Sims.
The issue, Sims says, is there's one big problem that these changes can't fix.
It's a problem that Sims says most Sheriff's across the state of Alabama deal with.
"Right now we have 196 beds and we're holding about 270 as of today. When I took office we were over 300," explained Sims.
The top cop in Marshall County says they're trying lots of methods to decrease the population, but the best thing to do is expand.
"So we're talking with the county commission and some of the cities about jail expansion, we think some of the cities may come on board with us," said Sims.
Sheriff Sims hopes to see major advances with the plans to expand in the next few years.
He says as of now, they're planning to make it a centralized jail for multiple cities to use.