The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

September 11, 2013

County board OKs detention center security system

BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL bhuchel@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — Vermilion County Board members put county officials the fast track in replacing a security and monitoring system for the Juvenile Detention Center.

Board members voted to approve an emergency declaration to repair the system during Tuesday’s county board meeting. The emergency declaration allows officials to bypass committee approval as well as the bidding process in order to move quickly on the project.

Failing cameras, entry locks and outdated equipment were among the problems cited in the Juvenile Detention Center’s Intergrator System.

Judy Hartshorn, director of the Juvenile Detention Center, described the system as “the heart” of the center, controlling door locks, communication to juveniles in rooms and overall video monitoring of the facility. She told the board that as many as half of the system’s cameras have failed up to his point.

Constructed more than a decade ago, the center located at 150 E. Sager St. has used the same system for security as well as recording activities and events in the rooms, hallways and other locations in the building from the beginning.

Hartshorn said the price of the new system will be $86,000, not including the cost of electrical work. The company that installed the original system has indicated it can upgrade and improve the set up without replacing the entire system.

Asked if she thought the security and safety of detention center staff and juveniles warranted an emergency declaration, Hartshorn said, “Absolutely.”

As a result, it will be proposed that the money used for the new security/monitoring system come from a recent legal settlement of a 2005 lawsuit with the City of Danville. The county received around $112,000 in the settlement — which should cover the price of the new system.

The building commission has not put a capital improvements account into place since getting the bond issue to build the juvenile detention center.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

n A risk manager for the county’s insurance firm told board members that Vermilion County has reached its legal boundary in governing landowners.

Tim Drury of Bliss McKnight Insurance was asked update the board on the county’s liability with regard to the wind farm ordinance.

He indicated the county — without zoning — cannot enact statutory restrictions in regard to property, including the county’s current wind farm ordinance.

“You’ve legislated as far as you can” with your current state, he said.

Drury noted that additional attempts to govern landowner’s property rights would be “overstepping your bounds” and cause the county to be challenged legally.

Assistant State’s Attorney Bill Donahue noted that if the county would start setting requirements it would become “de facto zoning.”

n Vermilion Manor Foundation director Phil Kruzich told board members the foundation has $8,500 in remaining funds that is using to help specific residents with needs at the nursing home.

Kruzich said the board already has used some funds collected from gifts and grants to get repairs on one resident’s electric wheel chair and help another resident who was confined to his bed to get the appropriate equipment to sit up.

The long-time county-owned nursing home was purchased as of early August by Premier Health Care Management and re-named to Garden View Nursing Home. Kruzich said the foundation board would disband after the remaining funds are used for residents.

District 7 board member John Dreher said he would like to see the board reorganize to assist residents in the gaps where Medicare and Medicaid do not pay.