MARION, Ill. (KFVS) – The Williamson County Sheriff’s Department is upgrading its technology from inside the jail to outside the facility.
The sheriff’s department is replacing its 25-year-old radio system, adding a drone that has an infrared camera and detection machine inside the jail to make sure no inmate is bringing contraband.
“The drone itself with the infrared camera that system is going to greatly improve officer safety,” said Scott McCabe, deputy chief of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department.
That’s just one of the new pieces of equipment purchased by the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department.
“Whether it’s a fleeing suspect, if we can contain that individual in an area, we can use the drone and the camera to capture the heat temperature of the suspect; instead of our agents going in and blindly looking for this individual,” McCabe said.
He said his new drone can also be used to help find missing people.
The sheriff’s department is also trashing its 25-year-old walkie talkies and using American Recovery Plan Act funds to buy new communication equipment.
“So what this is going to do is make it possible for our deputies and other officials in other departments to be able to communicate,” he continued.
McCabe said this has been in the works since 2019. This new one will allow deputies more ways to communicate. The new system cost $173,296.10.
“As long as our deputies have a cell phone, if for some reason they cannot get on their radio, they can be in any part of the country that has a cell phone signal and with the app that accompanies this system, their smartphone will essentially become a walkie -talkie,” McCabe said.
The jail is also adding more security measures to process inmates.
“This machine does what we call a full body scan. It scans you from head to toe, detects anything, bone, density levels, there are different levels that it can see. There’s nothing you can seal going through this scanner,” Williamson County Jail Administrator Todd Hunter said.
Hunter said they have already put the new machine to work.
“Contraband smuggling is what criminals do, but this machine here has already helped in a short week that it’s been in use,” Hunter said.
Hunter also said employee safety was paramount when choosing a machine like this.
“It’s very safe, it’s a low dose that was a question for some of the staff, the radiation issues. Very low doses. it’s minimal. Again, inmates can pass through here 125 times a year, per inmate. Very low dose of radiation,” Hunter said.
McCabe said the new radio system should be ready for use in the next few months. It all depends on supply chain issues.
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