One of the projects would be to purchase an electronic fingerprint system. This system would replace the current manual method of taking fingerprints. The automated system would be much more accurate, would help to identify persons and would coincide with the goal of the FBI to achieve electronic fingerprinting of all fingerprinting data. Currently, when we fingerprint a person manually, the fingerprint card is sent to the State Police for examination and classification. This process can take several weeks. So if a set of fingerprints are not clear enough on the card for classification, we find out usually after the arrested person has been released. The automated system will eliminate that problem because it tells you immediately if the prints are legible.
Another project we hope to fund is video conferencing. I have already conducted some research into this equipment and have included our two judges, two Commissioners, a Councilman, and the prosecutor’s office in a demonstration. We have estimated that officers travel more than 43,000 miles per year transporting prisoners from other jails and prisons. Video conferencing would reduce the need to transport inmates from state prisons and certain jails to our courts because the hearing could be done electronically. Locally, we walk several hundred inmates across the street to court each year. Video conferencing will lower that number because many inmates could have a court hearing and not leave the confines of the jail. Video conferencing will save transportation cost and increase security. All who attended the demonstration could see the advantages to using video conferencing.
Our third project is to obtain funding for upgrading storage in our evidence room. Shortly after taking office, I moved the evidence room from a 77 square foot closet to a room in the basement with over 300 square feet. The move itself allowed much better handling and tracking of the evidence but proper storage and indexing of evidence is still a concern. We are hoping to fund movable shelving that will provide an efficient method of storage but not take up excess floor space.
I am happy to announce that we were approved for a $10,000.00 grant from the Indiana State Police to help pay for training and equipment related to our existing computer forensics lab. Detective Chuck Vogely assembled his lab last year and has already attended numerous trainings. This grant will be very useful in maintaining the latest in electronic equipment and training.
In closing, I want to thank Ann Smith, Administrative Assistant here, for spending much time researching and writing grants. Ann comes to us with a background and experience in grant writing. Without her help, many grant opportunities would have gone unnoticed.