Williamson County board moves closer to buying new jail cameras - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Williamson County board moves closer to buying new jail cameras

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MARION (WSIL) -- Four months after an inmate inside the Williamson County Jail was attacked, there's a push to fix cameras that should have captured the incident. News 3 previously reported the attack happened in a part of the jail that was covered by security cameras but those cameras failed.

Devin O'Daniell is in the Williamson County Jail, awaiting trial on murder charges stemming from the death of his infant son. In December, he was assaulted in an area where the cameras should have seen it, but they didn't.

"Like any other jail, or even your home computer, you have to upgrade them," Williamson County Commissioner Brent Gentry said. "You have to keep them upgraded to make them work right."

Gentry said the jail is due for upgrades. The challenge is paying for it.

"We're smart enough to know that we're going to do what we can afford, to stay within a balanced budget coming up," Gentry said. "Does it all have to be done now? No. If we can afford it all now, then of course, we want to do it all now."

The county put the upgrades out for bid in December and only one company offered to do it: Accurate Control Co.

That company offered a couple different options: a complete overhaul of the jail's security system for $299,000 or smaller upgrades for $166,000.

"In my eyes, anytime you can do the whole thing, you're better off to do it all at once," Gentry said. "But at the same time, you want to make sure you have the money to do that."

Gentry said next year looks like it could be tricky financially, especially with new mandates from the state, including a higher minimum wage.

"These unfunded mandates (state lawmakers) put in our lap that we have to do, but we have no funding to support it from the state, it gets more and more frustrating every single year," Gentry said.

But he said the jail needs upgrades for the safety of inmates and the community.

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