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Carroll County to upgrade detention center cameras, receives body armor grant

The Carroll County Board of Commissioners took steps to tighten security by voting unanimously Thursday to make way for new cameras at the detention center and also accepted a state grant that will help cover the cost of body armor vests for local law enforcement.

The board awarded a $47,163 contract to CDW Government to upgrade infrastructure at the Carroll County Detention Center to prepare for replacing 80 analog cameras with digital cameras. Commissioners previously approved replacing one-third of the 80 analog cameras over the course of this year, and the remaining cameras will be replaced over the next two years, according to the commissioners’ agenda. Switching from analog to digital requires a new switch and cabling, the agenda states, and the current rooms holding the camera equipment are full and not suited for network devices.

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“One of the problems we’re having right now is that the closet that stuff is currently in is very small and we’re having issues with equipment overheating, getting too hot because of the space that it’s in,” Director of Technology Services Mark Ripper said.

The contract includes the cost of a new switch and installation, a seven-port slot, and a three-year maintenance plan with all updates and patches, according to the county communications office.

The equipment will be moved to a properly sized room in a central location in the detention center that provides more space and will keep equipment cooler, according to Ripper.

Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, asked how old the cameras are.

“Some of those cameras date back into the 1980s,” said Sixton Kadel, of Technology Services.

New vests for deputies

Additionally, the board matched a $4,228 grant from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention for seven replacement body armor vests for the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office. In total, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office’s Replacement Body Armor program is receiving $8,456. The grant requires a dollar-for-dollar match, according to Caren Jagoda, senior grants analyst for the county.

The vests must be replaced every five years, according to the manufacturer’s specifications, for the safety of the wearer, the agenda states. The vests are on a replacement schedule, according to Vicky McDonald, director of Administrative Services Bureau, Sheriff’s Office.

To match the grant, the board voted to transfer funds from the law enforcement operating budget to the body armor for local law enforcement grant project.

In other security-related business, the commissioners approved the submission of an application for a state grant that, if awarded, would help fund school resource officers (SRO) for Carroll County Public Schools.

The Maryland Center for School Safety, through the SRO/Adequate Coverage Grant, offers funds for local schools, according to the agenda. The amount each county is eligible to receive differs, McDonald said. Carroll County is applying for the maximum available at $282,885. The county already has $926,120 budgeted for the 2020 SRO program, so this grant would help alleviate that cost, Jagoda said.

“So if we don’t get the grant, we have the money anyway, but if we get the grant it just helps us out,” Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, said.

State’s Attorney’s Office design awarded

The commissioners awarded a $1.3 million contract for architectural and engineering services to Murphy & Dittenhafer to design a new building for the State’s Attorney’s Office.

The county has been exploring options for a new State’s Attorney’s Office for some time. The cost for the design of the three-story, approximately 26,500 square-foot building is just under 8% of the total estimated project cost, according to Bureau Chief of Building Construction Eric Burdine. Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, said that seemed like an “awful lot of money,” but Burdine said design fees typically run 8-10% of the total project. The $1.3 million is within county’s budget, according to the agenda.

The building would be at the intersection of Greenwood Avenue and North Ralph Street, Burdine said, if the design is approved. As part of the architectural and engineering services, the firm will also explore the feasibility of adding a central plant to prepare for any possible future buildings, according to Burdine. The new office, with the central plant, is expected to cost about $17 million to build, Burdine said.

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Burdine estimated 12 to 18 months for the design process. After putting the project out to bid, he anticipated it would take another 12 to 18 months to build the structure.

New county vehicles

The Board of Commissioners also voted to purchase a slew of replacement vehicles for various county departments:

  • One 2020 Chevrolet Impala for $27,385 to replace a Sheriff’s Office vehicle that was in a wreck.
  • One 2019 Ford F-250 truck for $33,503 to replace a vehicle in Recreation & Parks.
  • One 2019 Ford F-250 truck for $36,837 to replace a vehicle in the Roads Department.
  • Three 2019 Ford F-250 trucks for $40,877 each to replace vehicles in the Bureau of Utilities.
  • One 2019 Ford F-250 truck for $39,257 to replace a vehicle in the Bureau of Facilities.
  • Two 2019 Ford F-250 extended cab trucks for $44,030 each to replace vehicles in the Roads Department.
  • Two 2021 freightliner single axle dump trucks for $170,117 each to replace vehicles in the Roads Department.
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