Wapello County Law Enforcement Center

Courier file photo

OTTUMWA — County supervisors and Sheriff Don Phillips believe installation of law center cameras will improve safety.

“I marked some things that I think are probably important to know,” Parker said. “One these cameras that we’re updating, most of those are ones that were put in when the jail was first built, so they’re very old. For safety and security, cameras we have now only say 30 to 45 days of footage. These will have a much more lengthy time.”

“So if we have like a Jeffrey Epstein in, we would be able to see his stuff,” Supervisor Brian Morgan joked.

Parker laughed and then continued to stress the importance of these cameras. “It’ll greatly increase the safety and security of the jail. It’s gonna show areas that we can’t see now,” he said.

Parker said his goal and the goals of the sheriff’s department is to possibly have a similar concept for different parts of the city.

“That’ll be important, but I think the most important issue of all is the fact that we’re gonna be able to tie into cameras,” he said, “that the schools have and other cities, including eventually the city of Ottumwa has, and we will be able to access those cameras. That’s a real plus instead of everybody being separate, we’ll be able to access that.”

Installation hasn’t begun yet, but the building committees did approve of the proposal. “We have the funding for it, we don’t have to borrow any money — we have it,” Parker said. “So it’s one of those things that when you look at it, there’s no reason not to do it. It’s a new upgrade, it’s better, more efficient, it protects us and allows us to tie in with the schools and the city.”

Phillips was glad to hear of the building committee’s approval, hoping to have a set date for completion.

“I’m hoping here in the next couple months, we’ll let the vendor know its been approved,” he said. “I’m hoping in the next couple months it gets completely finished.”

The upgrade will cost $51,850.

Another topic for discussion was finding people to serve on the Wapello County Board of Adjustments, which has been a difficult process, Parker said. But Supervisor Wayne Huit said Colin Johnson may be the person qualified to fill the spot of vacancy.

“We’ve had a vacancy for quite a while, so here’s an opportunity to fill it,” Parker said. “Keeping this committee filled has been really important to us.”

On the SE IA Response Group 28 E Agreement update, Fire Chief Tony Miller said the fire department is in process of updating this agreement. Some changes will be adding Lucas and Appanoose county to the agreement starting July 1, 2020. If counties are added to the agreement, then updates for agreement are needed. The chair of the group, Parker, and County Auditor Kelly Spurgeon have to approve of these. Supervisors approved of the motion.

Chiara Romero can be reached at cromero@ottumwacourier.com.

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