The commissioners submitted an application May 8 for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant and unanimously approved the $11,128 award. The grant was originally intended for a fingerprinting device that would save time in the sheriff’s office, Grants Administrator Jeff Hauff said. The grant money will now go toward an electronic prisoner tracking system to be used within the county jail.
“We found the usage wouldn’t be as anticipated,” Hauff said. “It had less capability, actually, than we thought it did.”
The county notified the Department of Justice of the finger scanner’s inadequacies, Hauff said. The department allowed the county to change the grant request to be used for the electronic prisoner tracking system instead.
The system will help log required cell checks, Hauff said. This system will save time and manpower within the Sheriff’s Office.
The total cost of the system is $16,759. The amount not covered by the grant will be made up by the Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office budget was appropriately amended to include additional support for the tracking system. The amendments included a server dedicated to the housing of the system in the Information Technology department, Hauff said.
According to court documents, the cell checks are required by the state and are currently hand written, which is time consuming.
“The Sheriff’s Office needs to make rounds every hour to determine where those prisoners are,” Hauff said. “This is an electronic data recording device. It works through a series of censors.”
The new system will replace a logbook, the documents said. Data will be downloaded, once a cell check is completed, into a computer program that will log the time and completion of the monitoring.
Guards will be automatically alerted when and where cell checks are needed, ensuring their monitoring is up to state standards.
”It’s a way of checking on prisoners and having documentation they were checked on,” said Judge Bert Cobb.