By Sarah Pridgeon
The Crook County Sheriff’s Office is sporting a new look this week thanks to a complete remodel of the dispatch area and detention center. Utilizing a grant from the State Lands and Investments Board, says Sheriff Jeff Hodge, security has been improved and the dispatchers have a more functional workspace from which to assist the residents of Crook County.
The dispatchers’ room has been remodeled to become both more ergonomically functional and to improve security measures within the building.
“On the dispatch side, we added a full operational primary console and a secondary console that’s fully operational, so we can run two at the same time. Before, we only had one jail door control center,” Hodge says.
“Now we have the secondary console and we have controls in the booking room also.”
A new control system has been added for the jail doors, he continues, as well as a new intercom system and improvements to the cameras both within the building and outside.
The matching funds for the $470,183 grant came from the proceeds of the fee every telephone user pays for the E-911 system ($95,000) and the dispatch fees paid by each municipality ($22,546). The grant was written by the Sheriff’s Office and approved by the County Commissioners for much-needed work to upgrade aging and obsolete systems.
The jail door system, for example, was top notch when it was designed 20 years ago, but the person who designed it lives in Canada and has retired, making it difficult to secure technical support, while parts are becoming increasingly difficult to source. The intercom system had been in place since 1987 and was equally tough to maintain.
“It was a long time overdue – it had been over 20 years since anything major had been done in that area,” says Hodge.