Moffat County court conferencing system prepping for upgrades

County receives grant assistance from state

In other action...

At its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, a $46,240 bid from Craig Ford for two fleet vehicles for the Department of Social Services.

• Heard update from Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership Director Betsy Nauman-Cook.

• Approved, 3-0, stipulation of mineral ownership between Shell Western Exploration and Production, LP and the Museum of Northwest Colorado.

• Approved, 3-0, hiring a grounds facility maintenance technician for the facilities department.

The video conferencing systems at the Moffat County Courthouse and the Moffat County Public Safety Center may be receiving a much-needed upgrade courtesy of the state.

Mason Siedschlaw, county information technology director, Tuesday told the Moffat County Commission the county recently received a $45,000 court security grant from the State of Colorado.

The grant not only would provide significant system improvements, but also would connect the courthouse and the Moffat County Jail to the State of Colorado’s Judicial Network.

The state is about a year from completing the network, which will be comprised of every jail, Colorado Department of Corrections facility and courtroom throughout Colorado, Siedschlaw said.

But when state officials traveled to Moffat County a few weeks ago for a site visit Siedschlaw pointed out a small hurdle.

Unlike more populous regions of the state, Moffat County does not have the facilities to house inmates awaiting a court hearing at the courthouse.

Typically those prisoners are transported to the courthouse or they appear by videoconference from the public safety center, a network connection that is currently county specific.

In order to avoid connection disruptions both the courthouse and the public safety center would have to be upgraded, Siedschlaw said.

And because the grant was specifically designed to upgrade court security systems, bringing the public safety center onto the state’s judicial network would cost an additional $14,000.

The state offered to split the additional cost with the county 50/50.

Though the commission did not take action on the idea Tuesday, Commissioner Tom Gray thought it was a good idea, citing the savings in transportation costs alone would validate the unplanned $7,000 expense.

Officers at the public safety center don’t simply transport prisoners from the jail to the courthouse, Gray said. On many occasions prisoners are apprehended in Moffat County on a warrant issued in another jurisdiction.

“To me the key thing is avoiding some of those transport costs,” Gray said. “And if an officer is hauling a prisoner to Colorado Springs then they’re not here.”

The commissioners tabled a vote for at least a week to examine the 2012 budget.

The county’s $7,000 share would likely come out of the capital fund, the commissioners said.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

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