By STACEY PAGE
Kosciusko County Prosecutor Dan Hampton appeared before the county council last night to ask for $41,000 of his budget to be reallocated to update security and surveillance equipment in the jail.
According to Hampton, a new law now requires all interviews of in-custody persons to be video and audio taped in custodial areas for possible future prosecutorial use. While the Kosciusko County Jail does have the equipment, Hampton said it is outdated and not reliable noting the audio is often scratchy or nearly muted. “The new equipment is state of the art and will be used in both the booking and interview rooms.
Hampton said Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department personnel shopped for the equipment and he is certain they found the best equipment for the best price. Councilman Doug Heinisch asked how much of the new purchase is being driven by the law change to which Hampton noted, “It’s probably more so a need to update the equipment and for the prosecutor’s office need to get the audio.”
The money is being transferred from the prosecutor’s pretrial diversion fund to an equipment fund.
In other county business during Thursday night’s meeting, the council agreed to transfer $500,000 from the Western Route Project fund to the county highway department. That money, while not being used for the seemingly stagnant WRP, will be better used by the county highway department to perform chip and seal and paving on several county roads.
County commissioner Ron Truex spoke on behalf of the funding transfer noting the Western Route Project had a budget set years ago, but that money has not been used. By moving $500,000 to the county highway, Truex said the department will be able to chip and seal approximately 65 miles of county roads and pave another estimated 15 miles to 20 miles of roads. “We’ll still be about $1 million short of the ‘perfect’ amount for getting all road repairs done,” he added.
The transfer was approved, but county highway department Superintendent Scott Tillman said he was not prepared to give the council a complete listing of which roads would be targeted first.
The next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 8.