Williamson County Sheriff Department to upgrade its technology

The Williamson County Sheriff's Department is upgrading its technology.
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 5:37 PM CDT
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MARION, Ill. (KFVS) - The Williamson County Sheriff’s Department is upgrading its technology from inside the jail to the outside of the facility.

The sheriff department is replacing their 25-year-old radio system, adding in a drone that has an infrared camera and a screening machine inside the jail to make sure no inmates bring in any contraband.

“The drone itself with infrared camera that system is just going to greatly improve officer safety,” said Scott McCabe, a chief deputy with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department.

That is just one of the new pieces of equipment purchased by the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department.

“Whether it be a suspect fleeing, if we can contain that individual in an area, we can utilize the drone and the camera to pick up with suspect’s heat temperature; versus having our deputies go in and search blindly for this individual,” McCabe said.

He said their new drone can also be used to help find missing persons.

The sheriff’s department is also trashing its 25-year-old walkie talkies and using funds from the American Recovery Plan Act to buy new communications gear.

“So, what this is going to do is make it possible for our deputies and other officers in other departments be able to communicate,” he continued.

McCabe said this has been in the works since 2019. This new one will allow deputies more way to communicate. The new system cost $173,296.10.

“As long as our deputies have a cell phone, if for some reason they can’t get out on their radio, they can be anywhere in the country that has a cell phone signal and with the app that goes along with this system, their smartphone will essentially turn into a walkie-talkie,” McCabe said.

The jail is also adding more safety measures for processing inmates.

“This machine conducts a, what we call a full body scan. It scans you from head to toe, it picks up on anything, bone, the density levels, there’s different levels that it can see. There’s nothing that you can seal going through this scanner,” Todd Hunter, Williamson County jail administrator said.

Hunter said they have already put the new machine to work.

“Smuggling contraband in is what criminals do, but this machine here has already helped in a short week that it has been in use,” Hunter said.

Hunter also said employee safety was top of mind 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 dosages. It’s minimal. Again inmates can go through here 125 times per year, per inmate. Very low dose of radiation,” Hunter said.

McCabe said the new radio system should be up and ready to use within the next few months. It all depends on supply chain issues.