Needed jail upgrades to be addressed

Published 10:18 am Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Freeborn County officials plan to address $1.75 million in needed security improvements, upgrades and additions in the Freeborn County government and detention center.

Included in the work needed:

• Programmable logic controller: considered the heart of the jail’s security system, it includes door control and device monitoring.

Email newsletter signup

• Input output module: used in processes such as unlocking doors.

• Human machine interface: software jail staff use to control doors, monitor alarms and view video cameras. The interface provides integration to jail security and intercom systems.

• Video management system: software that records and plays back video cameras.

Work is planned for the facility’s electronic access control, intercom and public address systems, master control, structured cable and networking. The card reading system will be updated to prevent security risks.

Eighty-eight existing cameras in the detention center will be replaced, and 84 new cameras will be installed. Fifty-two cameras at the government center and 21 at the county highway shop will be upgraded. Eight cameras at Albert Lea City Garage and 12 at City Hall will be upgraded and new cameras will be installed in the Freeborn County boardroom.

Freeborn County commissioners were given an overview of upgrades and informed staff to move forward with the project on Feb. 14. Board action in conjunction with the project is expected in future meetings.

“Hopefully we’re going to add a few more doors to the integrator system where our security is weak,” said Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag. “These are all the upgrades we are talking about.”

Jail administrator Mike Stasko said the detention center’s PLC needs replacement.

“If that goes down, it shuts down the entire operation,” he said.

Stasko said though the project is expensive, it is needed.

“If it’s not done, that number is only going to grow and we just open ourselves up for something to happen that’s not good,” he said.

Freeborn County Administrator John Kluever said he was informed four to five years ago that a security system assessment was needed and thanked staff for their work in the process, and said capital improvement planning has allowed the county to fund the project.

“This wasn’t a surprise to anybody,” he said.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

email author More by Sam