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Carbon prison to purchase new security cameras

Published March 23. 2019 06:52AM

Surveillance cameras have come a long way since 1994, when Carbon County Correctional Facility opened.

The jail’s system still uses security tapes and has video quality, which is far from high definition.

Officials say the videos are important not only for keeping tabs on inmates, but also for investigations into assaults and other crimes which may occur inside the jail.

On Wednesday, the county prison board agreed to spend $178,000 to have Schaedler Yesco replace the system. The contract was awarded through the state’s COSTARS program.

Under the contract, Schaedler Yesco will replace all the existing cameras with new digital IP cameras with higher video quality.

“This would replace all cameras inside and outside the building. It also addresses any blind spots we may have,” Warden Timothy Fritz said.

The higher quality cameras will make it easier for jail staff to identify the people shown in surveillance footage. In some places, new fish eye cameras will replace multiple cameras. That should make it more efficient for the jail staff to review surveillance footage.

“It’s a better system, easier to operate, and hopefully we will cut down some time downloading footage that we need for investigations,” Fritz said.

The county commissioners budgeted $138,500 in its 2019 budget for the project, Fritz said. But the estimate came in about $40,000 higher. The county agreed to use $37,843 in grant funds to the project in order to close the gap.

The jail regularly uses surveillance footage in investigations. Some of those result in charges being filed against inmates. Oftentimes, the footage will be used as evidence in court during those cases.

“Even with the old system, we’ve used quite a bit of footage over the years to give the district attorney’s office a stronger case to prosecute someone who assaulted inmates or staff here,” Fritz said.

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