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Security upgrades coming to local law enforcement
Grant pays for surveillance, telecommunications improvements
community corrections pic
The Central Kansas Community Corrections, Barton County Sheriff’s Office and 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services surveillance and telecommunications systems will soon upgraded thanks to a state COVID-19 grant.

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:

•  Approved a declaration of a state of local public health emergency due to COVID-19.

After approval by Chairman Kenny Schremmer on March 18, the commission ratified the declaration at a special meeting held March 20.  On May 18, the declaration was extended 60 days, Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller said.  

Now, the commission was asked to extend the declaration until Jan. 26, 2021, unless terminated earlier. The extension allows for the county to receive state and federal aid, Miller said.

• Approved a request for proposal for the Kansas Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Grant law enforcement surveillance upgrade project.

On July 6, it was announced that Barton County was awarded a $102,356 Federal Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding grant from the Kansas Governor’s Grant Program. This grant was written for funds to prevent, prepare, and respond to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Barton County’s granted project includes updates for phone and surveillance equipment for Sheriff’s Office, Detention Center, Central Kansas Community Corrections and 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services. 

The low bid came from SHI of Somerset, N.J. Nextech will install the cloud communications.

A Request for Proposal was released for hardware needed to complete the project, County Administrator Phil Hathcock said.

• Approved a courthouse door security project funded by a Kansas Health Foundation Impact and Capacity Grant and Wal-Mart Community Grant related to COVID-19.

Barton County has received funds from the Kansas Health Foundation Impact & Capacity Grant and the Wal-Mart Community Grant. These awards are to be used, in part, to support COVID-19 response and recovery activities dealing with security measures, County Administrator Phil Hathcock said.

To better provide security at the courthouse in the event of a future closure, the county received bids to replace the exterior doors of the courthouse and install an electronic key card system.

Jimlo Glass of Great Bend provided a quote at $19,960 to do the work. Included in this cost is the purchase of the security card system NexTech, which would be installed by county personnel.

The project to upgrade the Barton County Sheriff’s Office, 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services and Central Kansas Community Corrections surveillance and telecommunications systems will soon be a reality. The County Commission Monday morning approved bids to install the equipment, funded through a $100,000 Kansas Federal Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding grant. 

The county was awarded the $102,356 through the Kansas Governor’s Grant Program, County Administrator Phil Hathcock told the commission Monday morning. This provides funding to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19. 

“This was a specific law enforcement grant, and it was it’s in relation to COVID because a lot of their functions have become remote,” he said, addressing misconceptions that COVID grants only address personal protective gear and related items. “So the cameras and the and the technology in this bid allow that to be done more easily.”

The Barton County project includes phones and video surveillance equipment for law enforcement agencies that will be integrated into a larger and more robust system. A new phone system will provide a complete interactive setup and will assist in the immediate need for social distancing and telework related efforts.

At the jail, the upgraded video surveillance system will allow the County to retain storage longer than 14 days for COVID-19 investigation reasons, she said. Virtual location journaling is also important to presumptive and active coronavirus investigations.

Clarity will also be improved so employees can remotely view security cameras to ensure safety at the Sheriff’s Office, Detention Facility and the Annex at 1806 12th where 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services and Community Corrections are housed.  

Hathcock said Grant Coordinator Sue Cooper submitted this grant with a specific list of equipment needed and that met the grant requirements. Information Technology technician Derek  Hollingshead received six bids for the equipment, with the low bid coming from SHI of Somerset, N.J. Nextech will install the cloud communications.

“We did receive local bids, but they were very high compared to the numbers we got from SHI,” Hathcock said.

The current system used by the BCSO and the jail is out dated with limited recording options, officials said.

It will also better accommodate social distancing at the jail, as well as allow deputies to see all corners of the jail and intervene to de-escalate problems faster.

For Juvenile Justice and Community Corrections, the new system makes it easier for staff to meet with clients virtually. And calls to the offices will automatically roll over to staff cell phones.

Potential budget cuts in these departments could heighten the need for these services as personnel are required to do more, officials said.

The county will have to front the cost of the project by tapping its reserves. However, it will be reimbursed by the state for the expenses