Sheriff tells Building Committee: jail needs new lock and monitoring system

A new lock and monitoring system is needed at the Knox County Jail.

That’s according to Sheriff David Clague who informed the Knox County Building Committee Tuesday night that the computer system that operates the lock and monitoring system is obsolete.

Last year the system went down, was fixed, then went down again in June and was fixed again. Clague says that the fixes are all temporary patches and a new system needs installed.

He says if the system goes down again, it’ll put jail staff at a disadvantage to respond to a crisis at the jail.

“If the system goes down completely again… everything then would be under lock and key,” explained Clague. “So if there’s a fight in the back, you have to go through four doors – locked doors – and then get back to the pod, unlock that door – and that’s time. Where as now it’s just a matter of pushing a button on the monitor.”

He said the system is 15 years old, and has never been updated. He compared the system’s age to his work computer, saying that computer has been replaced three times in 11 years.

A new system from Security Automation System would cost $148,000 and could be installed in September.

The Building Committee approved the Sheriff’s request. It now goes before the full board.

Cody Basham with Klingner and Associates informed the committee that renovations to the IT Department would be getting underway soon, saying that once the office was cleaned out, the contractor would start the project.

Basham also presented the committee with building evaluations and preventative maintenance schedules for all county owned buildings.

Every district property was included except for the Nursing Home, which Basham said he would have for the board next month.

“What I’d like to do there is tour that personally, myself and a mechanical engineer on staff prior to turning in a proposal,” Basham said. “I could get that for you guys next month. But I want to give myself due diligence on that building cause that’s substantially more intense.”

The Knox County Board recently approved to have a utilities evaluation completed by Smart Watt, but Basham said his building review was not in conjunction with theirs.

The indication was that each department would be responsible for budgeting to cover the maintenance expenses.

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