Court video system will pay for itself

Thursday, May 17, 2007

On May 10, the Barry County Commission accepted a $5,486.24 bid from MDC Technology Group, of Monett, for a video arraignment system that will be installed at the Barry County Jail and Judicial Center.

"The video arraignment system will help us decrease the time, manpower and costs associated with transporting prisoners from the jail to the judicial center," said Johnnie Cox, Barry County prosecuting attorney. "I believe this system will pay for itself many times over."

The video arraignment system will allow a prisoner held at the Barry County Jail to communicate with a judge at the judicial center through a secure video conference network. Cameras and equipment will be installed in each judicial center courtroom and in a conference room at the jail.

"This will greatly help our department," said Mick Epperly, Barry County sheriff. "We have a safety issue getting prisoners out of cells and transporting them from the jail to the judicial center.

"There is also a time issue when a judge is hearing another case, and we have to wait," said Epperly. "With this system, when the judge is ready to see them, they will be in a room at the jail and will be able to communicate with the judge at the judicial center without transportation."

The system will be used primarily for arraignment hearings. Although prisoners will still need to be transported to the judicial center for some court hearings, the system will reduce the number of necessary transportations.

"The system will save time, improve safety and reduce costs associated with transporting individuals to the judicial center," said Epperly. "I think it will help the judicial center and circuit clerk's office also."

MDC Technology Group should be installing the video arraignment system at the jail and judicial center sometime this year.

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