Benton County Jail getting closer to safety upgrades - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Benton County Jail getting closer to safety upgrades

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KENNEWICK, WA- On Tuesday, May 11, the board approved the request for Proposal for Benton County Justice Center Security System Retrofit. Not only will the jail get more camera and upgraded software, the courthouse will also benefit with an updated system. 

More specifically, the system will include new digital cameras, electronic card access control system, duress alarms, touch screen equipment, handheld devices system for the door access in the jail and new computer programs. 

We talked with Undersheriff Jerry Hatcher about the approval for the multi-stage proposal and he told us, "when the facility was designed they put what they thought was the latest and greatest technology well it's now 15 years old and it was also found it was more designed for a food processing plant but the systems work the same". 

Hatcher says the biggest issue is making sure the system is reliable, over the years the system sometimes crashes and then the staff must operate everything manually. When situations break out in the jail the system crash slows the time it would take for a staff member to report to the serious event. 

He says, "in the jail we're going to have a lot more cameras, so hopefully in cameras in areas we can't see so well it will increase our ability to monitor inmates and improve facility". They will be adding close to 200 cameras. Having so many cameras will allow them to monitor the inmates better but also, have the ability to look back at events in a legality case. 

Undersheriff Hatcher says ultimately, their main goal with the new system upgrade, "we want to get it right, we want to make sure we provide a safe environment for our inmates and our employees".