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County seeking grant for sheriff's computer system

By By John Wallace
The price tag for a new computer system at the Escambia County Detention Center is high n as much as a half-million dollars. But money may be no object in this case.
At Monday's County Commission meeting, Chairman Larry White said the bids for a new computer system for the detention center were opened and ranged from $250,000 to $500,000.
A federal grant was recently passed for the First Congressional District, including Escambia County. This grant, one of only three awarded across the nation, will help cover the cost of the new computer system.
He also said SmartCOP, Inc., issued a comprehensive bid package and included a letter that states the company will defer payment for its proposed plan until the funding from the grant is made available.
In other words, the company will install the software for the jail's computer system and wait to be compensated until grant money is available.
Escambia County Sheriff Tim Hawsey said this is a state-of-the-art system and would help the sheriff's department take giant strides toward improving its communication abilities.
Hawsey said the company wants to install a BETA site at the jail, and they are willing to write a customized program for the jail's computer system. The system would also connect the sheriff's office with Escambia County, Fla., and Santa Rosa County, Fla. It will also put terminals in patrol cars, Hawsey said.
White said the company wants to make inroads into Alabama and that is one reason why they are making such an attractive offer.
Both White and Hawsey said they have looked into the company.
Hawsey echoed White's sentiments and said the Alabama Department of Public Safety has looked into using the company.
The commissioners passed a motion accepting the SmartCOP bid, with the stipulation that all the funding for the software will come from state and federal funding.
In other business, the commission members heard an update on dump truck bids before voting to accept a low bid of $53,700 submitted by Henderson/Peterbilt/GMC of Montgomery.
The commissioners also voted to keep the Animal Control department under the supervision of the Escambia County Sheriff's Department for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Also, the commissioners:
* awarded a bid of $81,360 to Glenn Hart Contractor for a Natural Resources Conservation Service's Emergency Watershed Project for the snagging of Murder Creek and Burnt Corn Creek;
* heard a reminder from White of the upcoming ACCA District Meeting on Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in Evergreen, and the NACO Legislative Conference being held in Washington, D.C. March 3 through March 7.