County Commission to consider creation of Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council

As promised last week, the Douglas County Commission will consider creation of a Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council at its Wednesday meeting.

At a Feb. 24 work session on the proposed Douglas County Jail expansion, building of a mental health crisis intervention center and creation of a mental health court, Commissioner Mike Gaughan said it was time the County Commission took the action, which was among the objectives the county committed to when it received a $200,000 federal grant in September. The two-year grant will be used to hire two additional Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center case managers to help evaluate inmates at the jail for potential treatment and placement options.

Gaughan said the coordinating council would include representatives from Bert Nash, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Douglas County District Court and the district attorney’s office. Representatives from the city of Lawrence, the Lawrence Police Department and law enforcement agencies in the county would also be included, he said.

The coordinating council would explore ways to keep the county’s criminal justice system fair and efficient while keeping county residents safe, Gaughan said.

In other business Wednesday, commissioners will consider authorizing the solicitation of bids for the pavement rehabilitation of County Routes 1-W and 1-S at Lone Star Lake Park. There is $450,000 for the work in the county’s capital improvement project list. Bids will be opened in late March with construction slated to start in late April, Douglas County Public Works Director Keith Browning wrote in a report to commissioners.

The Douglas County Commission meets at 4 p.m. each Wednesday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. A full meeting agenda is available online at