Autauga County Sheriff Mark Harrell announced his plans to evacuate the county jail because he has a "moral obligation" to the health and safety of all who enter or reside there, he says.

Harrell released a statement on Thursday, announcing the jail's evacuation until the County Commission adequately addresses his concerns. Without detailing the issues, Harrell said he had arranged for the proper housing of inmates.

"On January 16, 2023, I was appointed as Sheriff of Autauga County by Governor Kay Ivey," Harrell said in a statement. "On that day, I swore an Oath to Protect and Defend the Constitution of the State of Alabama and the United States. I have a moral obligation for the safety, health and security of all individuals who come through the doors of the Autauga County Metro Jail, whether it's my staff, Law Enforcement Officers or inmates. Effective today June 6, 2024 I will be evacuating the Autauga County Metro Jail. It will be up to the County Commission to properly and adequately fix the issues to prevent health and safety issues before I, as the Sheriff of Autauga County, will place another individual in the jail."

He continued, "We have worked out the logistics with several agencies to house inmates. We have made arrangements to process individuals quickly and house them in a safe environment. I am aware of the ramifications of this decision but it is my obligation by State and Federal Law to do so as Sheriff of this great county. Further information on when these issues will be resolved need to be addressed to the Autauga County Commission."

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