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Electronic fingerprinting grants rejected for Carbon County

Published May 20. 2011 05:00PM

Two grants that Carbon County was hoping to use for its electronic fingerprinting and photo system have been rejected.

During the monthly meeting of the county prison board, Warden Joseph Gross explained that he had been informed that the grant that specifically covered $38,743 of the costs for the Live Scan Booking Station and Commonwealth Photo Imaging Network had been turned down.

Gross explained that the grant application was modified so that the prison could make modifications to the door to the Live Scan room; as well as purchase security cameras for the room. In addition to that, AEDs were also listed in the application for the prison and the other county offices.

He said that Ronald Kokinda, chief of adult probation, said the grant application was rejected but he wasn't sure why. The grant will be resubmitted without the AED request to see if it will pass.

"We're at a standstill at getting the door secured," Gross said. "Without the door secured and the camera system in place I have to bring a corrections officer out to be with the Live Scan operator."

Gross also reported that a second grant application, in the amount of $29,792, for JNET, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Justice Network, has been turned down as well. That application will also be resubmitted.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, who also sits on the prison board, asked if this means the county will have to absorb the cost now.

Gross said the prison will continue to operate as it has, but will have to cut back a little in some ways.

Robert Crampsie, county controller, asked if the other Live Scan grant, which covers personnel costs for the Live Scan operator, was still in place.

Gross said it was.

O'Gurek noted that the grant is only good for one year. After that, it is the county's responsibility.

The Live Scan system has been operating since Oct. 1, for summons cases and Megan's Law individuals.

The county prison board has been working to get the Live Scan Booking Station and Commonwealth Photo Imaging Network up and running since June 2008, when the county prison board agreed to accept the piece of machinery from the Pennsylvania Police Chiefs Association (PCPA). The cost of the equipment if purchased, would have been $66,600.

Since then, the county has had to bid out a project to run fiber optics for the system, as well as install a new underground conduit from the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency to the county prison, both located on the Broad Mountain in Nesquehoning, after learning that the current conduit that runs between the two facilities had sprung a leak and could potentially create a problem. BCI Communications of Monmouth, N.J., submitted the low bid of $27,778. This project was not in the initial setup cost estimates.

In other matters, Gross reported that the prison is continuing to experience some overcrowding in the general population area.

As of May 13, the daily inmate population was 147. The Carbon County Correctional Facility has a 172-bed capacity.

Randall Smith, county administrator, also updated the board on the lightning protection project that has been in the works.

In April, the board talked about purchasing a lightning suppression system, which would include numerous high-voltage surge protectors on the prison's electrical system. This is due to the prison, which is located on the Broad Mountain in Nesquehoning, being struck by lightning numerous times over the last few years.

The last strike, which occurred in July 2009, damaged the prison's fire alarm system, and shorted out a few control panels and door switches.

Smith said that he spoke with Turner Lightning Protection Company Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio, who had provided a quote of $13,690.

He noted that the county is required to bid out the project because the cost is over $10,000.

Because of this, the county has decided to wait on the project until it sees how the legislation that would change the bidding requirements, does in the House and Senate.

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