The Norman Transcript

Local news

March 2, 2012

Software to assist in inmate ID at jail

NORMAN — The Cleveland County Justice Authority has approved the purchase of $40,000 software to assist detention officers in identifying inmates.

The authority approved the motion at Thursday’s special jail authority meeting, which followed an 11 a.m. special meeting of the Board of County Commissioners. Officials at the F. DeWayne Beggs Detention Center plan to pair the software with military-grade tablets, which will have high durability.

Currently, Undersheriff Rhett Burnett said detention officers use a low-tech system to identify inmates, referring to photos in booking files and asking inmates “challenge questions” that only an individual inmate knows the answers to.

The new software will allow detention officers to do the same thing without digging up files, which Burnett said can be “cumbersome.” The software will provide access to the jail’s current management system software from a mobile device.

Burnett said detention officers identify inmates before pulling them for any reason, including to be released, to receive medical attention and to see an attorney.

“That (identifying inmates) alleviates a lot of concerns that it’s an impostor,” Burnett said. “If you have an inmate looking to cause problems, they have a lot more time to focus on it than we do.”

The authority has received a signed contract from Global Software. The authority is not obligated to pay the full $40,000, should there be any problems with the software.

The jail plans to later purchase between 11 and 22 tablets. Jail officials can install the software on all of the devices, but the software license will only support up to 15 users at one time.

Commissioners discussed numerous other things at Thursday’s special meetings, including the cancelation of Monday’s meeting of the Cleveland County Justice Authority due to the lack of a quorum. The Board of County Commissioners will, however, hold its regular meeting at 9 a.m. Monday.

Joel Pruett 366-3540 jpruett@normantranscript.com

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