Highland County commissioners Jeff Duncan, Gary Abernathy and Terry Britton moved to proceed with the purchase of a new body scanner for the Highland County Jail, pending assessment and review of the device by Sheriff Donnie Barrera.
Barrera told commissioners Wednesday that he had decided upon the Intercept scanner from Tek84, one of a trio of scanners the San Diego company builds, which he described as a portable system in that it is wheel-mounted to allow relocation to different needed areas.
“I’ve got a quote from them for $149,000,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot a checking with some of the other sheriff’s offices, and the Maysville Police Department at their jail, and everybody that I’ve spoken with loves the system.”
He said that the previous scanner system under consideration cost $118,000, but in his opinion, the Intercept scanner was a better system with a faster installation time.
To help with the costs incurred, he said he would be willing to take $49,000 from the commissary funds in order to acquire the unit, which he said was vital in lieu of the fact the jail currently houses 97 inmates, and that at least two are under lockdown due to the presence of contraband on their bodies.
“I think the purchase of this unit, though it won’t stop it, will alleviate a lot of the issues that we have in preventing contraband from getting into the jail,” he said.
According to information obtained from Tek84, the Intercept scanner being recommended by Barrera performs a quick and thorough scan in just four seconds with the inmate standing in one place rather than being moved on a conveyor belt.
The previous scanner that was being considered would have required some remodeling at the jail for installation, but Barrera said the Intercept was somewhat portable and could be moved about, and in Tek84’s information, it was stated the unit had a narrow width and removable top designed to accommodate doorways 34 inches wide by 80 inches high.
He said the Ohio Department of Health required an application fee of $262 for a three-year certification, with a physicist required to perform an annual radiation check on the unit.
“Delaware County is one of the most recent facilities to purchase one of these machines, and they have a consulting company that comes in and does site inspections for around $250, and that’s an annual fee,” Barrera said.
The Intercept scanner comes with a two-year, 100 percent warranty, he said, and after that the county could purchase a $10,000 annual agreement for service, maintenance or troubleshooting.
“I still plan to see one in operation,” he said. “I’ve been invited to Delaware and Fairfield County, and I’ve been in contact with the Maysville jail. I’d like to talk with a couple of them and get some different perspectives.”
Abernathy moved that the commissioners proceed with the purchase of the body scanner, “pending the sheriff’s final satisfaction, pending any additional exploration he would choose to make.”
In other matters, echoing the labor department’s report on the economy Friday, Duncan said that numbers provided by County Auditor Bill Fawley showed that sales tax receipts indicated a $6,197 increase over receipts from last January, which he described as “starting off the year on a positive note.”
Abernathy noted that the Highland County Community Fund, in conjunction with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, was scheduled to have its first meeting on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 5 p.m.
As previously reported, the FAO was involved in a wide variety of activities ranging from historic preservation to recreational construction projects, in addition to underwriting field trips for schools that otherwise don’t have the funding.
The group’s initial meeting will be held in the basement conference room of the Highland County Administration Building, and is open to the public.
Also Wednesday, three contracts were approved, two dealing with records retention for the recorder’s and engineer’s offices, and one other being a renewal of an annual agreement providing for indigent defense services.
The commissioners also moved to accept a bid from Dance Auto Sales for the replacement of a truck used for snow plow operations.
Duncan said the 2011 three-quarter ton Ford truck had 56,000 miles and will cost $15,070.
Commissioners approved 15 line item budget transfer resolutions, with two other resolutions authorizing the Highland County Probation Office to establish a new specialized docket subsidy fund, and the other approving replacement of a bridge on Careytown Road, just north of East Welcome Road.
The commissioners also congratulated county maintenance employee Chuck Taylor on his intention to retire on March 27.
According to Britton, Taylor had been with the county in various capacities for 39 years and is a “jack of all trades — I wish him well.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.