UPDATED 02/03/11 1:43 p.m.
CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) – A lockdown was lifted Thursday morning at the Cook County Jail Thursday morning, after part of the facility lost power during the blizzard this week.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bob Conway reports, county Sheriff Tom Dart declared a civil emergency at the jail during the blizzard, as a result of staffing shortages brought on by the weather and the intermittent power outages.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Bob Conway reports
With the lockdown over, visitations and inmate movement were returned to normal. Boot camp inmates who were temporarily moved into an empty jail building are now back in their barracks, the sheriff’s office said.
The maximum security wing that was hit by the power outage had to rely on backup generators.
The civil emergency declaration, said to be the first in more than 30 years, permitted the sheriff to redirect staff from other department functions to the jail. The declaration was still in effect Thursday morning, but was expected to be lifted later in the day.
During the blizzard, five inmates who were released Tuesday told guards they had nowhere to go and asked if they could stay in jail overnight to avoid the storm.
Once the power was reliably back on, Dart put the inmates to work shoveling snow.