OTTUMWA — The Wapello County Board of Supervisors approved two separate requests, one for a purchase of security cameras, and another for an in-car video system during Tuesday's weekly meeting at the courthouse.
County engineer Jeff Skalberg requested new security cameras for the Secondary Roads buildings after there have been incidents of theft in recent years. The cost of the quote from Winger Companies was $27,873, which included 10 cameras and the required hardware and installation.
A bulk of the installations would be at the main Secondary Roads building in Ottumwa, where seven cameras would be placed. Three others would be placed in the shop in Agency.
"I think it's important to note that we had a truck stolen down at the Secondary Roads lot here about a year and a half ago, and a break-in at the Agency shop," supervisor Brian Morgan said. "So this is a security measure as much as anything, so if anything were to happen, we could see what happened to cover the county itself."
After hours, the cameras would turn on and also notify dispatchers if they detect any movement, Skalberg said.
"I'm sure it's the same system that we have at the sheriff's office that it will allow us to see the cameras also," Wapello County Sheriff Don Phillips said.
The other request came from Phillips for an in-car video system for officers. The system from Getac includes both body cameras and in-car cameras that work in tandem.
The cost of the system was about $114,000, but a grant will knock that price down by about $9,000. The system would be paid after July 1 through the local option sales tax.
"With trials and everything in the world today, everything is recorded," Phillips said in addressing the supervisors. "We reached out to some different vendors. There was some stuff with our current system that wasn't good, doesn't have as much line-of-sight as the one I'm proposing."
Phillips noted the storage for the current system is older, and the disc burners are aging as well, "and we're having to piecemeal that together," he said. He advocated for a cloud-based storage that is offered, which will also allow quick access to footage through the internet.
"There are some features about this that we like," he said. "We can set this up to where we play the video from the body camera, and the car, and they sync together. So you can kind of have both videos going. And then a second officer, if one is showing up at the scene, those videos will sync together, so it gives us multiple views and different angles to look at."
The cost for storage the first year will be just under $15,000, which includes 27 devices. Because four additional devices will be added the second year, the cost will be $17,000.
Supervisor Jerry Parker wondered about the possibility of "staggering" video camera replacements in the future rather than all at once.
"Maybe a get a couple before they were considered old, and maybe get a couple after they were old," he said. "Because we're going to pay out of sales tax this time, we don't know that 10 years from now that that will be available. So it may be a budgeted item that we spread out so we didn't have to pay for it all in one year."
County information technology director Paul Culver was pleased the sheriff's office got what it did out of the existing system.
"We've gotten six years out of the current Panasonic systems. Since I've been here we've gone from burning a DVD and walking over to the county attorney's office to improving the network, and moving that DVD across the network," he said. "Now we're able to say, you can view this for a week, or view it three times, and they can go to their defense attorneys and immediately give them access. The chain of custody becomes a lot smoother."
In other business:
• The supervisors approved to abolishment of the food service coordinator position in the Wapello County Jail. The position is now a cook who reports to the jail administrator; the position hasn't been filled in almost 30 years.
• The supervisors appointed Dakyns Brockenbrough Stover IV as a trustee for Agency Township. Two trustees resigned, and Iowa Code allows the supervisors to appoint one trustee to create a quorum to do business. Stover and current trustee Carlton Dial can appoint a third trustee to complete the governance.