In other business, the commission:
• Approved the 2012-2013 Barton County Extension Council budget request in the amount of $204,250. This is the same amount asked for by the council for several years while the mill levy for the funding has dropped from 1.2 mills in 2001 to .8 now. “I want to commend you for that,” commissioner Don Cates said to Doug Barrett, the council rep that spoke at Monday’s meeting.
• Approved the purchase of two portable water-cooled cooling units for the Road and Bridge Department shop. The pair cost $4,399.95 from Parts Inc. in Great Bend. “It gets hot in that shop,” Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips said. The units can cool about 2,600 square feet each.
• Heard an update on child care licensing in the county from Connie Miller, child care licensing surveyor. She works out of the Barton County Health Department, but also covers Rice and Rush counties through a contract with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. KDHE is the state agency responsible for overseeing child care in Kansas.
Law enforcement students at Barton Community College and law enforcement officers in Barton County will have a new high-tech training option to help them in dangerous situations. This is due in part to a donation from the County Attorney’s Office.
The device is a state-of-the-art use-of-force simulator, something that has been on wish list for the BCC Criminal Justice Program for quite awhile. It cost is $25,000 and the BCAO contributed $10,000 out of its diversion fund.
“This is like a Wii or X-box on steroids,” County Attorney Doug Matthews told the commission Monday morning during its regular meeting at the courthouse. Utilizing video and computers, it can present hundreds of real-world shoot-don’t-shoot scenarios in which the trainee can use a mock gun, stun device or baton to respond.
The system comes from TI Training Corporation out of Golden, Colo. The indoor unit will be housed at the college, but is portable.
“Our office has worked with the Criminal Justice Program at the college for sometime,” Matthews said. Then, he said, the BCC Foundation contacted him about the simulator.
Program instructor Randy Smith had applied for federal and state grants to fund the project. However, he learned it didn’t qualify.
The college then sought contributions from a 10-county area. Matthew’s office responded, and now enough has been collected.
“This is training they would not otherwise have,” Matthews said. The simulator can be used by BCC students as well as officers from around the county.
Money in the diversion fund comes from fees paid by those charged with a crime but agree to a contract that, if fulfilled, allows the charges to be dismissed. The fees, however, are kept by the county.
Matthews said his office has about $70,000 in the fund that the county attorney can use at their discretion. It often gets used to purchase law enforcement equipment. “This was an excellent opportunity to use some of that money.”
Commissioner Kenny Schremmer asked about an abandoned house purchased by the county that sits on the property that includes the county’s firing range east of the Barton County Landfill. The house is used for officers to practice entering a structure and he wondered if that was now obsolete.
No, Matthews said. The technology is great, but “nothing beats actually opening a door and going in.”