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Archive for Friday, March 18, 2011

Douglas County OKs $187K for jail surveillance upgrade

March 18, 2011

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Douglas County Jail will upgrade its surveillance system with a $187,270 purchase from Siemens Industry. Douglas County Commission approved the purchase after an executive session Wednesday evening.

The purchase, which includes 86 new cameras with vandal domes, comes from the sheriff’s reserve fund. County administrator Craig Weinaug said the purchase uses most of the money in the fund, which is meant to pay for equipment replacement.

Kenneth Massey, undersheriff in the corrections division, said the jail’s current system had been installed in late 2006 or early 2007, and he was happy to get five years out of it.

“It’s become obsolete, so to speak, technology-wise,” he said.

The current system has about 20 fewer cameras than the upgrade, which will have a larger retention period for the images. The system the jail has now can hold surveillance for 30 to 45 days, depending on how much movement it’s recording.

The order from Siemens includes the cameras, three LCD screens, a computer, backup drives, multiple servers and software.

Because of privacy issues, the jail can’t record inside cells, but it does record in hallways and day areas in the jail. Massey said the new system will increase the safety of staff, inmates, volunteers and anyone else who moves through the jail.

“A good video system, a good recording system is worth its weight in gold,” Massey said. “It allows us to continue to provide safety and security to everyone that’s in and out of the facility.”

Normally, a large purchase would go through a bidding process, but because of compatibility issues, the commission and jail went with products that would work with what was already at the jail.

Comments

pace 3 years, 9 months ago

I am glad they are using tools. Taking the opportunity to thank the crews that serve, they deserve good tools to do their hard and necessary job.

kansasredlegs 3 years, 9 months ago

LJW... Brenna:

What was the reason provided to go into an "Executive Session" to discuss a publically funded contract? Third-party confidential industry information, homeland security issues?

None of the comments by the undersheriff remotely authorize an executive session to discuss this topic. While sensitive security items can be discussed in closed session, any discussion as to funding must be carried out in a public forum.

Therefore, if the Commission went into session without discussion, returned to open session and voted without public discussion of the contract sans the items for executive session then a violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act has occurred. Do you agree?

Thanks for any follow up you can provide.

bhawley 3 years, 9 months ago

The reason given was security issues. No decision or action was taken in the session, rather, the commission came out of session and did it then. There was no public comment because there wasn't anyone still there to comment. Hope that helps!

kansasredlegs 3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the follow up. Still would seem to be a violation if no discussion about the contract in a public forum before or following the Executive Session; otherwise that discussion would have taken place behind closed doors. If not discussed behind closed doors that would mean the Commissioners voted its approval without even discussing the contract. Doubt that occurred. I guess my point is that the Commissioners impermissibly discussed the actual contract, not just the 'security items', out of the purview of the public while in Executive Session.

I'd request that you ask them; however, I'm confident of the response you would get.

Thanks for the information.

xyz 3 years, 9 months ago

Brenna--please correct the first sentence of your article since the DECISION to make the purchase DID NOT occur in executive session. If you want to be a good reporter you must be accurate. Details matter.

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