Sheriff discusses need for replacing security system
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
Sheriff Jeff Howell and Chief Deputy William Breeding spoke to the Crawford County Council at its Jan. 12 meeting, again discussing the need for a new security system at the jail.
In September, Howell told the council issues with door locks, cameras and recording equipment in the jail need attention. The current equipment, installed in 2003, is so outdated, if some components fail, parts can no longer be obtained. It is also far below the quality available today.
A representative of Stanley Convergent Security Solutions presented a three-phase option in September. However, maintenance would be expensive and the proposal did not include new cameras.
Breeding said he applied for a $300,000 grant to fund the project, but Crawford County did not receive the grant. He has since spoken with another company, Security Automation Systems, which provided a rough estimate of $300,000 for a system.
Deputy Breeding said he believes this is the best company, noting it is used by the state prison system and would meet all local needs.
In discussing how to fund the project, which the council agreed is vital, Howell told members he will continue housing inmates from out of county.
That prospect looks good for the next two years, he said, but warned “it’s a business and can change at the drop of a hat.”
Last year, the county brought in $570,588 by housing inmates from other counties.
Council members discussed the option of borrowing a portion of the money with the remainder coming from the county budget and the sheriff’s department budget.
Howell also discussed his department’s vehicles in relation to taking on a large project. He said he’s concerned because the entire fleet is used, with the newest vehicle being four years old.
Officers put between 25,000 and 30,000 miles on each vehicle annually and most have between 140,000 and 180,000 miles each.
Howell said last year, he agreed to move $105,000 from the sheriff’s department vehicle fund to the General Fund when the county had a big shortfall at the end of the year.
Howell said a vehicle replacement plan was established several years ago with the goal of replacing two vehicles each year. However, it got off track due to funding issues.
A final decision regarding the security system was not made because a project of this scope must be let for bids. It was decided to advertise for bids and will be discussed further once the bids are received.