Spunaugle updates board on inmate tracking system

The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors has approved additional funding requests for American Rescue Plan funding.
County Auditor Stephanie Burke updated the supervisors on the requests. She started off by stating that the ARP committee had not recently met to discuss the requests, and that the rules had changed even further on the allowable uses for the funding.
Burke added that due to the timing of one of the requests, it was decided to skip the step of having the requests discussed by the county’s ARP committee, and instead to bring the request directly before the supervisors.
“With the new changes, the supervisors can designate the funding to anything they want, except under certain categories, such as debt. The county has been allocated $1,926,261. Up to this point, we’ve spent $688,664, and our remaining balance is $1,237,597,” Burke said.
The supervisors then heard comments from Montgomery County Sheriff Jon Spunaugle, who shared that two of the proposed projects for funding were already in place at the sheriff’s office. The first request was for a Guardian RFID inmate tracking and documentation system.
“We’re on our third year of the contract, which is up, and I got a hold of Guardian and worked out a plan for handheld devices that track anything an inmate can do. We’re still using our first devices; we were kind of a test location for these devices, and we’re on generation one, and they’re now on generation three, so it’s time for us to buy new ones. It takes care of a lot of things, including inmate medications,” Spunaugle said.
Cost of the upgrades were $19,879, for a five-year contract, which would save the county $1,000. Spunaugle said they would not be locked into the new generation three devices if there was another upgrade prior to the five-year contract’s expiration.
The next funding request was $16,250 for door access control upgrades from Midwest Alarm services. Spunaugle said there were five doors on the law enforcement center building, and would provide access in a similar way as the courthouse.
“One of the advantages is, if we have a new car come in, they have to take a machine and program every single door for access for that car. Also, we can’t use the back door of the sheriff’s office, because the card access lock went out, and the part for that door is over $2,000. This was something that IT director Jim Scott brought to my attention,” Spunaugle explained.
Scott said the upgrades provided for ease of administration, and it would also allow for reporting, so if a question was raised over who accessed what door, they could run a report and identify who accessed the door.
The last request for funding was a larger one, $183,836 for a camera and cell door control system from Accurate Controls, Inc. Spunaugle said the existing system is 10 years old in July and way past its life expectancy.
“We’re already seeing glitches, and we’re having cameras go out. This will also provide for some additional cameras, as we don’t have enough coverage. We knew this was going to be a high-cost project, and we’re trying to get this finalized now because all of the equipment goes up 7% in cost on March 1. That was the biggest reason for us pushing to get this before the supervisors before the first day in March,” stated Spunaugle.
The first two projects would be upgraded immediately, while the third project was more extensive and would take some time to finish, but approval would get the ball rolling. Supervisor Mike Olson was in agreement that there were failures already being noted in the LEC’s camera system.
“When you’re talking about a 7% increase, especially in this amount of dollars, what’s already expensive now is going to get a lot worse. This is something we’re going to have to do eventually, and it comes back to the safety of the employees and the safety of the public,” Olson said.
The final request was from the Montgomery County Attorney’s Office of $3,101 for the purchase of a new MacBook Pro for use during Zoom court hearings, and remote work, as well as in office work.
The supervisors approved the ARP funding requests for all four projects, in the amount of $223,067.

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