Following issues with jail's surveillance system, Williamson Cou - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Following issues with jail's surveillance system, Williamson County Board opens bidding for overhaul

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MARION, Ill. -- A failing surveillance system in the Williamson County Jail is leaving law enforcement in the dark after an inmate was beaten last month.

Devin O'Daniell was hospitalized in November after being assaulted by other inmates. Now, multiple sources confirm to News 3 that O'Daniell was beaten in an area supposedly covered by cameras, but that the video recording system wasn't working at the time of the assault. Sources close to the investigation  worry the malfunctioning system could leave the county open to lawsuits and other liabilities. 

"We have had trouble over the past couple of months with the surveillance system. We have been working on the issue," said Scott McCabe, Chief Deputy with the Williamson County Sheriff's Department. "They are currently working at this time."

He says the jail's surveillance system was installed in 2012, but is now reaching the end of its life. We asked McCabe about the circumstances surrounding O'Daniell's assault, but he said he cannot comment due to that case being under investigation.

County commissioner Ron Ellis says the sheriff's department came to the county board last week asking for funds to overhaul the system. At a meeting Tuesday morning the board decided to open a bidding process for the video system upgrade.

"The people who are in the jail are potentially in harms way and the guards are in harm's way," Ellis said.

Ellis said a fully functional security system is important and the board is hoping to take action as quickly as possible

"Hopefully within the next few days,10 days, something like that, before Christmas, we can everything secured where it's at least in the process of being fixed," Ellis said. 

Right now the county board has one bid for the surveillance system upgrade but because it will cost more than $30,000, the board needs at least two more bids before awarding a contract.

O'Daniell is being held on $1 million bond at the Williamson County Jail and facing charges in connection with the beating death of his 3-month old son.

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