Sheriff Youngblood sits down with 23ABC to discuss safety at Lerdo

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood was elected to his fourth term on Tuesday. Now, with his position secure over the next four years, he's addressing questions raised by the Kern County Detention Officers Association about safety at Lerdo.

Last week, 23ABC brought you a story about concerns over locks at the Lerdo pre-trial facility brought up by the Kern County Detention Officers Association. 

RELATED: Cell locks failed during large-scale riot at Lerdo Jail, officials say

The KCDOA claimed that inmates were able to pick the locks to their cells, creating potentially dangerous situations. A detention officer was injured last month after the association claimed an inmate picked a lock and escaped. 

Sheriff Youngblood joined 23ABC in studio on Friday to talk about these concerns. 

Youngblood said the inmate was in an open, secure area and that the deputy should have called for back up instead of trying to handle the situation one-on-one with the inmate.

"I'm really embarrassed for the Kern County Detentions Association for what they've done throughout the campaign, what they continue to do," Sheriff Youngblood said. "And they obviously don't want a rapport with the sheriff, shame on them. And it's not the detentions deputies, it's just the association. It's up to them where to go. But I'm going to be the sheriff whether they like it or not."

Youngblood went on to say the KCDOA and KCSO should be working together, not against each other.

“Nobody cares about the safety of those deputies more than I do," Youngblood said.

RELATED: 448 cell door locks to be replaced at Lerdo Pre-Trial Jail facility

The Kern County Board of Supervisors has approved spending $1.7 million to replace locks at Lerdo. Sheriff Youngblood said Friday morning that the county is in the process of replacing those locks, but did not specifically say when they would be installed. 

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