County to mark Memorial Day
County Business Offices will be closed on Monday in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. The Health Department, the Records Division of the Sheriff’s Office and the County Landfill will also be closed that day. Emergency services will be in normal operation.
The County Commission will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
The Barton County Office Building at 12th and Kansas will be under constant surveillance after the installation of a high-definition digital video camera system. The County Commission approved the $16,500 project at its meeting Monday morning.
Included in the system are both indoor and outdoor cameras covering the Barton County Extension Council, Court Services, Community Corrections and the Juvenile Services offices with a monitoring system at the Barton County Communications Center. The work will be done by NexTech.
“We were looking at a system similar to the one at the courthouse,” John Debes, county information technology director, told the commission Monday. This is an older, analog system which can also be monitored by 911 personnel.
However, Debes said the NexTech proposal included that produced images to clear “you could read a person’s name tag 300 feet away.” They would be motion-activated with audio capabilities that could record up to 60 days worth of footage, depending on how much use they get.
Juvenile Services Director Laurie White, who works in the building, said such a system will make her staff feel more secure, and help in tracking individuals who flee.
County officials are also looking at upgrading the courthouse video coverage.
A $5,323 grant from the Juvenile Justice Authority and $1,150 in county money will make possible a video system that will allow children in need of care and juvenile offenders to hold conferences or first appearances from afar. The commission approved accepting the grant and the extra expenditure Monday.
Under current Kansas law, juveniles in custody must be sight and sound separated from adults. In the 20th Judicial District, this is generally accomplished by transporting juveniles to a holding facility in Reno County. In July, placement options will change. At that time, new regulations will require CINCs to be placed at the Wichita Children’s Home while Reno County will house only juvenile offenders.
“It’s kind of a new concept,” White said. Included are a server, video court proceeding system equipment with two cameras, two laptops and an I-pod.
Currently, the Barton County Sheriff’s Office transports the juveniles back and forth. This costs about $700 a month in fuel alone. One way to reduce the cost of transporting juvenile may be to conduct certain court proceedings via a video feed.
White’s office serves about 500 juveniles each year.
Debes, who helped develop the system, said there will be links between the out-of-town facility, and a conference room courtroom in Barton County. This is an Internet-based video system, but these connections will be secured.
Barton County will contract with a company called Mega Meeting for $50 per month to provide the service, and part of the extra funding the commission OKed for the project will cover this fee through the end of the year. But, Debes said the county can used the network for other functions.
It is also portable. A conference can be held from anywhere there is Internet access.
County Administrator Richard Boeckman said the judges in the 20th Judicial District (which covers Barton County) are supportive, as is the County Attorney’s Office.
The system should be in place by the end of June, Debes said.
In other business, the commission:
• Approved the 2012 and 2013 engineering services contract for the Barton County Landfill. The $57,800 contract with Aquaterra Environmental Solutions out of Kansas City will cover a host of federal- and state-mandated testing, mapping, surveying and prep work for possible future landfill expansions. The total for next year is higher than it will be in future years due to the extent of the work required now. Aquaterra has worked with the county and the landfill for several years.