Council tables jail upgrades
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
The Crawford County Council expressed desire to resolve the issues with door locks, cameras and recording equipment in the jail, but concerns over the quote presented and how to determine what’s actually needed kept it from moving forward at its Sept. 8 meeting.
“There’s no need in piecing it,” said councilman Bill Breeding. “The problem is, we don’t know everything … it’s leaving us in a spot. We need a system, but we need it within our budget.”
The equipment now being used dates to 2003 and is so outdated, if some components fail, parts can no longer be obtained. It is also far below the quality available today.
Stanley Convergent Security Solutions representative Mickey Wydick presented a three-phase option. He explained the first portion of the project must be completed initially. Either of the other two parts could be completed in conjunction with the first part or could be done later individually.
“To get up to date, one, two and three are all needed,” he said in response to council members’ questions, “but you need cameras on top of that.”
That seemed to come as a surprise to council members, who believed the three-phase project would resolve all the issues. That is not the case, explained Wydick.
The cameras are also 17 years old, along with the other equipment, and need to be updated. Wydick said they could be replaced a few at a time after the initial upgrades are finished.
Phase one would involve replacing computer equipment hardware and software and totals $29,190. Phase two involves installing a digital intercom system and carries a $54,400 price tag. The third phase involves installing DVR recorders and related equipment; that cost is $88,000.
The issue is, even with $171,590 in upgrades and new equipment, the same outdated cameras would be used, thus leaving a big part of the overall problem unresolved.
Council members don’t like that.
Replacing the cameras comes with a hefty price tag: an estimated $112,000.
“We need to do something, but we don’t want it to be obsolete in a year,” said councilman Jerry Brewer. “This is not our expertise. If it needs to be done, do it. We don’t want to piecemeal it. But with that kind of money, we need someone with more expertise.”
The project cost worries council members, faced with budget shortfalls for the coming year due to the impact of COVID-19.
“Before we pull the trigger on $300,000, I think we better have someone else look at it,” said council president Chad Riddle. “We’re in a bad state anyway; we went from $80,000 to $280,000 in a hurry.”
Council members said while they want to move forward as quickly as possible, they need to gather more information first.
Riddle said an effort will be made to obtain another quote, and the council indicated it will also consider a lease option as well.
Members voted unanimously to table the project for the time being, noting if needed information can be gathered quickly, a special meeting will be called to discuss the best way to move forward.
The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 6 p.m. at the judicial complex in English.