New camera system may be coming to county lockup

— When first installed in 2005, Essex County had a state-of-the art video surveillance system at the public safety building and jail facility.

With time, however, state-of-the-art becomes obsolete and parts become more and more scarce.

With that, Essex County Sheriff Richard Cutting received preliminary approval to upgrade the system at the jail for $149,985 of budgeted funds.

“It’s difficult to get parts to replace the existing cameras,” Cutting said. “It is a recommendation from our department based on failures of the equipment.”

The system consists of 144 mounted cameras throughout the jail and public safety building premises, which are recorded onto one of nine DVR systems. Any specific incidents are then saved onto hard copy for use in disciplinary actions or for other purposes.

“We were able to go back and capture enough video of activities in the weeks after that so the insurance company could defend a claim of an inmate claiming they were hurt in the shower,” Cutting said. “These videos are extremely useful in the facility. In a lot of our disciplinary hearings, when we tell them that we have video, the hearings become very simple.”

Cutting said that the upgrades will mainly be done to replace cameras that are starting to malfunction, which are difficult to find the needed replacement parts.

The Public Safety Committee of the Essex County Board of Supervisors passed the proposal onto the Ways and Means Committee for consideration at its Tuesday, May 28 meeting.

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