City of Pittsburg to join county's videoconferencing arraignment system
The City of Pittsburg has approved the purchase of equipment for a new video arraignment system between the Crawford County Judicial Center in Pittsburg and the Crawford County Jail near Girard.
"It just makes practical sense," said Maj. Mendy Hulvey, acting Pittsburg Police Chief. "The dollars we would spend on the conferencing systems are minimal compared to the savings, the gas, the wear and tear on the cars, the overtime of calling in officers. Now that we have gone to a single court date, we often find ourselves needing to transport eight to 10 prisoners at a time. That will tap our resources real quick."
City attorney John Mazurek presented a proposal to the Pittsburg City Commission on March 23 outlining a plan to implement a video conferencing system that would allow prisoners to remain at the jail for certain court appearances.
Mazurek explained to the commission that for $3,359 the city of Pittsburg could tap into the county's video conferencing line. That would keep inmates from having to be escorted by a Pittsburg police officer from the jail to the municipal court and back. With the video connection the defendant could remain in jail and have the charges brought against him or her read over a television hook-up.
Crawford County Sheriff Sandy Horton said the department, which split the costs of its system with the Crawford County District Court, installed its system in 2002 at a cost of $9,500.
In addition to the initial start-up cost, there is a $29 per month fee for a dedicated data line between the courthouse and the jail. The same type of line will be used between the jail and the judicial center.
"You have to have your own line just for that because if you have a lot of people on the same line, it really slows it down," said Crawford County Emergency Preparedness Director Eldon Bedene. "In order to have to voice and video you need the band width, so you almost need a dedicated line."
Bedene said the only thing Pittsburg will need to do is get a dedicated high-speed Internet connection and purchase the equipment.
Horton said that the majority of first appearances, if not all of them, are done via the video arraignment system.
"Your first arraignment is where you are read the charges of what you are arrested for and information is asked on whether you can afford an attorney, if not, you have to fill out a form and fax that back to the judge," Horton said. "The judge determines whether he will assign an attorney and decides whether they will set a court date. It's not a very lengthy process."
Horton said that on average, the sheriff's department uses the camera four days per week for between 10 and 20 prisoners.
Horton said that while it would save the City of Pittsburg a lot of money in transportation costs, the more important issues are the security and safety of the community.
"Every time you transport there is a potential for an altercation, whether it is a fight with another inmate, or with family members, or an escape attempt," Horton said. "But the potential is in transport, the biggest security risk is when you are transporting prisoners."
"You have to think about the fact that you have 10 prisoners out in the bay area all together and it makes it difficult for one to two people to manage those numbers," she said.
Hulvey was not able to say when the system would be available for use, but she did say the police department is working diligently with the courts and with the sheriff's department on the matter.
From Courtrooms to Corrections Halls of Justice Turn to Video to Lower Costs, Expedite Cases, Enhance Security
TANDBERG recently introduced a comprehensive set of video-communication tools specifically designed for judicial systems in North America from courtrooms to correctional facilities that delivers better service for the public as well as inmates. The suite of products provides inmates full access to their judicial rights, letting them communicate by video with their lawyers, judges and parole officers for sentencing and hearings. They also enable families and attorneys to meet with inmates by video without entering the correctional facility, which often can prove troubling for children and the inmates.
As budget tightening, court cases, inmate population and public-safety concerns grow, the courts and correctional systems in North America turn increasingly to visual communication to help reduce these pressures. In recent years, for instance, most state and federal prison systems in the U.S. have operated over capacity by as much as 33 percent. TANDBERG's new video solutions help cut costs by reducing the traditional physical movement required of the incarcerated including the time spent to admit and release prisoners and to participate in court hearings and trials. The video systems also help improve public safety by reducing the opportunity for disturbances to and from court and the need for local police to disrupt their normal law-enforcement activities to help assist in the transporting of inmates.
Video communication allows for a substantial reduction in time and money associated with transporting prisoners, and it also provides access to critical experts and witnesses that, otherwise, may not be able to participate in hearings, said TANDBERG customer Fred Lederer, director of Courtroom 21, a joint project of the College of William and Mary Law School and the National Center for State Courts. We look forward to using TANDBERG's latest video technology to ensure that Courtroom 21 remains the premier model of the courtroom of the future.
The processes and procedures for administering our judicial systems can be made more efficient, secure and manageable through these innovative solutions, said Brad Johnston, president, TANDBERG Americas. Like our healthcare and distance-learning solutions, our Judicial suite of products is the result of very close collaboration with our customers.
The TANDBERG video-communication packages are complete, easy-to-install solutions designed with input from judges, court clerks, and correctional professionals. Available for shipment today, the product suite includes these video components:
- Judicator - Primarily used by a presiding judge, it includes a 15 LCD display, camera, built in microphone and amplifier/loud speaker.
- Modular Video System - Mobile version of TANDBERG 6000 video unit to enable fully interactive court proceedings.
- SL Series - A self-contained communication system designed for video visitation, remote arraignment, tele-psychiatry, and remote rehabilitation training. This is designed for use in hostile inmate environments and is constructed of heavy duty materials.
- Visitation Solution - A prepackaged, IP-based solution that allows instantaneous and easy video connection through an intuitive touch panel for simple and convenient video visitations. The visitation system will be available in Q2.
In addition to arraignments, depositions and visitation purposes, many correctional facilities use video communication for health-care purposes. Due to Congressional mandate, all inmates must have a full medical, dental and mental-health examination within 14 days of being admitted.
We use a TANDBERG video-communication program to conduct initial assessments of inmates' medical condition during the in-take process. With TANDBERG's technology, we can connect inmates to doctors around the county, saving much time and money otherwise spent transporting prisoners, said Dr. Joseph Scalzo, director for Correctional Health Services in Maricopa County in Phoenix, Arizona. We maintain the safety of the community with fewer movements of inmates outside our facility while ensuring that more police officers patrol the streets.
Recognizes Superior Service and Support for Polycom Conferencing and Collaboration
IVCi recently announced it has achieved Platinum Channel Certification from Polycom, Inc., the world's leader in video and voice conferencing, conference bridges, and integrated Web collaboration solutions. As one of only four Polycom Platinum Certified Channel Partners nationwide, IVCi is now officially recognized for its superior service and support of Polycom's integrated, end-to-end voice, video, Web and data communications solutions.
"Achieving Polycom's platinum certification status is a tremendous accomplishment for our company," said Robert Swing, president of IVCi. "This distinction sends a clear message to our customers and partners worldwide that IVCi delivers the highest level of managed conferencing solutions available in the industry. We provide an end-to-end implementation encompassing products, services, system management, training and support. This allows our customers to use conferencing and collaboration solutions to effectively resolve communication issues, raise productivity and collaboration, and concentrate on growing their business."
"Unified collaborative communications has become a critical business tool for leading companies worldwide thanks to the availability of reliable, high-quality and easy-to-use systems," said Mark Dickey, Vice President North America Sales for Polycom. "By meeting the platinum level standards of Polycom's Certification Program, IVCi is qualified to offer its customers our entire line of voice, video, Web and data solutions together with our networking solutions for integrating them. When IVCi customers see the platinum certification, they will know that they are working with an organization that has been fully trained to support Polycom's industry leading conferencing and collaboration products."
The platinum certification is the highest of three certification levels available through the program, including certified, certified gold and certified platinum. To achieve platinum certification, channel partners must meet a rigorous set of requirements encompassing converged voice, video and network solutions including customer satisfaction, enterprise networking environments, end-user training, and sales and service support.
For additional information regarding conferencing, or to speak to a representative, please contact IVCi at 800-224-7083, or click here to have an IVCi Representative contact you.
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