New jail safety system helps keep Ky. COs safer

Upgrades include chips in inmates' bracelets and scannable wall panels on detention pods logging when a CO checks in


By Jacob Dick
Messenger-Inquirer

DAVIESS COUNTY, Ky. — The Daviess County Detention Center is integrating new technology in its cell blocks, and even on its inmate's ID bracelets, that should help improve efficiency and safety.

Art Maglinger, jailer at the Daviess County Detention Center, said the jail would be spending the next few weeks installing different components of a system called Guard1, which is part monitoring tool for security rounds and part database of jail activities.

"This system will hopefully make our rounds more efficient, but it is also going to help our insurance rating," Maglinger said.

Guard1 is split into different layers, with inmates wearing chips in their bracelets that can easily pull up their profiles when scanned, scannable wall panels on each detention pod logging when a deputy checks-in, and a tablet that lets a deputy log what they do and see.

Sgt. Zack Ezell, deputy jailer and IT officer at the detention center, said the system will add layers of safety and accountability for employees when they're making their rounds.

"If you have a round due at 1300 (hours), it will send you a notification at 12:45 that a task is coming up," Ezell said. "If the deputy misses a check in, it sends a notification to the supervisor that something might be up."

Ezell said notifications can even be sent to the jailer when he is off property to keep him informed of what is happening.

The system also lets deputy jailers log information about inmates on suicide watch that is stored directly in the system's server. Observation information is currently recorded and stored on paper documents.

If a deputy jailer checks-in on a pod and one of the inmates is missing from the headcount, he now has to call different divisions to see if the inmate is out for medical treatment or a legal consultation. With this system, Ezell said a jail employee will know why someone is missing as soon as they scan the block's chip and are given a list of inmates with designations.

The inmates already are asked to wear identification bands without chips that can bring up their profiles. Maglinger said inmates can refuse to wear the bands, but compliance gives them benefits like commissary privileges.

The system will cost from $18,000 to $20,000, and is being paid for out of the jail's commissary fund. House Bill 92, passed into law in March by the General Assembly, added one seemingly simple line to the state's statute on jail commissaries that now allows jailers to use commissary accounts "to enhance safety and security within the jail."

The security system isn't the only technological upgrade hitting the detention center. Maglinger said the jail is also switching its commissary provider, which will mean more benefits and ways of communication for inmates. More details about the change will be available as the change progresses.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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